Guest post: how cult YouTube directors can interest a young demographic in the issue of climate change

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Who better to write this blog post on Blog Action Day 2009 than my sister Cheryl Campbell?

Cheryl is the executive director of tve, a charity that has been making films and documentaries about the environment for 25 years. Here she writes of her sons’ fascination for the cult YouTube videos of Eddsworld and Ted Crusty which  inspired her to work with the very same directors inviting them to give their take on climate change. What better way to appeal to a youngYouTube generation than to work with the stars of the medium.

I like the subject of this post written for this blog on this day of all days.

Blog Action Day 2009 focuses on climate change. These Digital Times is a blog dedicated to observing and supporting all our journeys from traditional to digital media. tve, a traditional maker of films about climate change,  launches something completely different using the tools of new media to get its message across. Cheryl’s post neatly brings all these elements together.

Read what she has to say. Watch the videos.  And send a message to world leaders about climate change.

Eighteen months ago I asked my young son to show me on YouTube what it was that (with all parental filters in place, of course!) was keeping him and his mates so fascinated, what it was that, when they got together as a group, made the computer more interesting than television or the XBOX.

Last night, as a result of that fascinating tour of YouTube channels, tve launched A Million Views on Copenhagen, a series of short, quirky irreverent climate change videos produced by  – and for – the YouTube generation.

tve, which is a UK based charity, has been making films and documentaries about the key environment and development challenges of our time for 25 years. Last year our films reached at least 300 million homes via global television broadcast and many more viewers via broadcasts on nearly 90 national and regional television channels. As you would expect, we are busy making films both long and short in the lead up to the crucial UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen in December.

But how to connect with that younger “hard to reach” audience? Some of these cult YouTube producers have vast followings of on-line fans, including Eddsworld, Ted Crusty and Custard Productions. We decided to invite them to produce a series for us, to give us their individual takes on climate change in the run up to the conference in Copenhagen in December. They’re joined by Alisha Tuladhar, a 16 year old schoolgirl from Nepal, and Mike-Steve Adeleye, an award-winning Namibian animator.

And we’ve been delighted with the results. Their films are exciting, innovative and engaging: a polar bear falling from the sky, plastic trees and a Lego campaigner against carbon tax are just some of the ways these members of the YouTube generation deliver their takes on climate change. It has been great to work with all the filmmakers: Edd Gould and Tom Ridgewell of Eddsworld, Mike Tapscott (Ted Crusty), Keshen Matus of Custard Productions, Mike-Steve Adeleye and Alisha Tuladhar. We thank them for sharing their creativity with us.

And so far, from the comments mounting up on our YouTube channel, it looks as we are achieving what we as a charity set out to do – inspiring change – with plenty of entertainment mixed in. “That’s it! I’m plugging out my particle accelerator!” “Woot! Another hilarious eddsworld movie and this time it has a meaning” “haha loved it it made the message bout global warming clear in a funny way” “I better go turn off a light switch now” – let’s keep those comments coming!

tve is not a campaigning organisation. But we often have most impact where we work closely with an organisation who knows how to take the interest and awareness we generate with viewers (be that through television or online) and turn it into action. In this our 25th year we’ve been delighted to partner with one of our founders, WWF, to give viewers of the series  that opportunity  ahead of Copenhagen. Viewers will be invited to Vote Earth and send a message to world leaders by clicking here and joining the call for a global deal on climate change at Copenhagen.

We’re hoping to attract a million views to the series by December so please do click through to tve on YouTube , watch the films. And finally, none of this would have been possible without the support of the Artemis Charitable Foundation. I am hugely grateful to the Foundation for enabling us to reach new audiences with such an exciting and cutting edge series.

Other UBM colleagues who have written for Blog Action Day 2009 are Anthony Hildebrand, Brian Sims, Ron Alallouf, Phil Clark, Grahame Morrison, Rob Enslin and Ed Sexton.

blog action day 2009

Here is a link to my contribution to Blog Action Day 2008.

JEEcamp 2009: Interview with Paul Bradshaw – on the future of journalism

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Paul Bradshaw, JEEcamp organiser, has strong views on journalism’s future.

People will not pay for content but only a platform, he argues, so journalists should create their content around services. Hear what he has to say in a short interview outside the event. See pictures from the event here.

If your reader does not let you see the video, click on this link to access the post and see the video.

Paul Tweets @paulbradshaw and writes the Online Journalism Blog.

JEEcamp 2009: Interview with Martin Belam – on the future of journalism

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I was in Birmingham yesterday for JEEcamp. It’s a great opportunity to talk about journalism and, more specifically, how to make money from it.

I met Martin Belam and asked him his views. I’ve always been a great fan – I put him in my list of UK bloggers and Twitterers who are beginning to rival their US peers for my attention. Listen to what he had to say.

Martin Tweets @currybet and blogs at Currybet and MediaGuardian.

Interview with Tony Uphoff – on using Facebook and Twitter to network at events

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Tony Uphoff runs UBM’s TechWeb (a sister company to my own) which runs Information Week and the Web 2.0 Expo co-produced with O’Reilly Media.

Tony is very active in social media with a blog Uphoff on Media and a Twitter. Here he talks about how he uses Facebook and Twitter to network before and during business-to-business events.

This is my sixth and last interview from the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco and my second interview with Tony.

Interview with Paul Way – the impact of Facebook and Twitter on mainstream businesses

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Paul Way and I used to work together in London before he moved back to the US to work for sister company UBM TechInsights.

I met up with him for breakfast in San Francisco’s Dottie’s True Blue cafe where he reminded me just how good he was at seeing the bigger picture. Here he evaluates what impact the lack of business plans by Facebook or Twitter has on mainstream businesses. Listen to his interview.

This is my fifth interview from the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.

Interview with Peter Kim – what’s next?

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Peter Kim, blogger, Twitterer and social media expert, faced my Flip next.

He had picked up that I was coming to San Francisco following my post on the etiquette of permission networking. He commented, suggesting we meet up. Listen to his take on where social media is going next. And traditional business cards!

This is my fourth interview from the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.

Interview with Hollis Thomases – on balancing the public and the private in social media

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Hollis Thomases and I only knew eachother through Twitter so it seemed appropriate to Tweetup in San Francisco. She answers the questions I posted recently on my blog.

Listen as she reminds us that social media has been around longer than we think, why she is proud of her Twitter profile and the important of direct response. 

Hollis is CEO of her own company that provides a variety of web-based solutions to her clients. She is also a regular columnist for ClickZ, a blogger and a great Twitterer.

This is my second interview from the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.

Interview with Carlos Hernandez – on the social capital of social media

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Carlos Hernandez does something I had not heard of before. He trains unemployed baby boomers to find work through social media.

Listen to what he had to say about the role of social media for good in society and what Carlos said to Twitter’s Evan Williams.

I really like Carlos’ approach to social media. The early web was an egalitarian place where all were equal and most things were shared. And then the big corporations came along and changed things.

Could social media, the great leveller, play a similar role? Will it survive its rapid absorption into the mainstream?

This is my first interview from the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.

Could Barnado’s “feral children” advertisement ever become the UK’s Motrin saga?

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Over the weekend, the power of social media to undermine a company’s reputation was on full display in the US. Mothers Twittered and blogged drug company Motrin into submission over its advertisement on YouTube targeting baby-sling wearing mums. The “Motrin Mothers” were outraged that any company could use what they saw as a negative image about child-rearing. By Monday morning, the company was truly humbled as its website had collapsed and nobody seemed to be around to deal with the fall-out, read Jeremiah Owyang and David Armano.

Could the same happen in the UK? Monday saw the release of an advertisement by Barnado’s, a charity for children. “Feral children” portrays a group of rednecks piling into a car to go shoot “vermin” who turn out to be children on a social housing estate. The justification? That each comment made by the would-be hunters have actually been made by real people to UK newspaper websites.

 It is a raw, powerful video with some shocking imagery. There has been some reaction in the traditional press and forums. As of today, Addictomatic shows some activity on blogs but Twitter not much. Is the UK so underdeveloped in social media compared to the US? Can UK organisations or companies rely on a continuing broadcast culture to preserve their reputations? Are people a lot less emotive on such subjects than their US cousins?

I leave you to compare the two videos below.

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