Googled Most in 2006: Social Networking, Video

December 18, 2006

Google has quietly released its 2006 Zeitgeist for the most frequently used search terms in the world over the last year. Top of the list? Social networking site Bebo, followed by industry leader MySpace. It’s an interesting list, Israel based video sharing site Metacafe is number 4 on the list and the term “video” is 7th on the list.

Bebo is based in San Francisco but is said by third party stats companies to be the leading social networking site in both the UK and New Zealand. Got that? The most Googled word in the world this year was Bebo. That’s almost too wild to believe.

The BBC appears to have covered the list first today, followed by a number of UK bloggers, but there is some confusion as to whether the list is global or UK based. The fact that the BBC didn’t link to the Google page, didn’t make it explicit and perhaps most important the amazing fact that Bebo, most popular in the UK was on the top of the list made me assume it was a list for the UK. The text of the page indicates otherwise, though.

It looks social networking and online video really are the top things that searchers all over the world are looking for.

Update: Two days later the Washington Post wrote a long, interesting article on this list.

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Chad Vader Exclusive on MySpace Tonight

December 18, 2006

The crew behind the short video series Chad Vader – Day Manager sent out a press release today announcing that the show’s next episode is going to debut on the front page of MySpace tonight and show there exclusively for 24 hours. Madison, Wisconsin based producers Matt Sloan and Aaron Yonda (Blame Society Productions) have told other writers that Tom himself will send out a MySpace bulletin with a link to the video.

Sending out press released about your show on MySpace Video or YouTube appears to be a growing trend and in most cases strikes me as ridiculous. The Chad Vader crew has been posting behind the scenes updates on YouTube leading up to this new episode for several months. Previous episodes have been viewed millions of times. Perhaps it’s because Chad Vader is so much better than several of the terrible video shows on YouTube that have issued press releases lately, but putting out a press release on the MySpace exclusive feature makes sense to me.

Appearing below is the first episode of the show, my favorite so far. Here are the other three shows. All are under 7 minutes in length and episode 4 leaves off at a place where the series could have ended. Episode 5 will be allowed to go viral after 24 hours on the front page of MySpace – an arrangement less profitable but otherwise far more desirable than the recent Google Video deal with EepyBird, for example.

Chad Vader – Day Manager is a short form show about “Chad Vader, the younger, less charismatic brother of Darth Vader, who is the day shift manager of a grocery store.” It’s very funny. The show has received media attention from Good Morning America, New York Times Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and several others – but the front page of MySpace could be the biggest coup yet. Mainstream media attention may be good for building prestige, but if you want large numbers of viewers I can’t think of any place better than the front page of MySpace. I expect too that the well known icon of a Darth Vader costume, out of context in a grocery store, will make for an unusually eye catching screen shot on the front page.

Where will they go next? This space is so new that trails are still being blazed. Will DVD sales be sufficient to support the Blame Society? Will they be signed by a bloated old media conglomerate and play up sex appeal at the expense of interesting content? Can their star status be sustained, economically and comedically? Will emerging artists like this just be used by big media old and new to drive ad revenue and then be left out in the cold? The game has just begun and no answers to these questions are clear yet.


Oaxaca’s Conflict in Online Media

December 18, 2006

If new online media is lowering the barriers to participation in journalism, one of the most interesting forms this can take is in international investigative journalism. New York video journalist Brad Will recently traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico to cover what began as a teachers’ strike and has since become a general protest against alleged electoral fraud, corruption and government repression in the area. Critics of the protests argue that the demonstrators’ tactics, including the building of barricades across city streets, are doing more harm than good to the city. On October 27th, in the course of producing media about the events in Oaxaca, Brad Will was shot and killed by a group of unknown gunmen.

The following is a collection of online media about the conflict in Oaxaca. It’s an example of how contextually related media items can be well served by being displayed together. As you can see below, I’ve grouped together a number of photographs, a video and some text links in the body of this post. The media player we are building will enable items like this to be played together in one skinless, resizable player that can have updates in the form of new bundles of content pushed out to all sites embedding that player. I believe that many people watching the situation in Oaxaca, for example, would be interested in placing a player on their websites and receiving updated media when it becomes available from the channel publisher.

The events depicted in the following media may be quieting down for now, see the last link in the text section below, but they are obviously of long term consequence. Below you’ll find a series of photographs from Oaxaca, followed by a 16 minute video made by Brad Will that contains interviews with local residents and footage from conflicts with the armed men who in the end of the video shoot the videographer. Below the video are a list of related links to related sites on the web and a series of photographs of people who have allegedly been “disappeared” by security forces in the conflict. The final item in the media below are credits for production of the items above. Credits will be generated automatically when the media player is available.

I chose the media below because it’s some of the most impactful work I’ve seen online in some time. Beyond demonstrating the potential that user generated content has, it’s media that deserves to be seen widely in its own right. Note: The video below concludes with the death of the videographer shooting it, so be forewarned.


More on the Topic

AliveInMexico, a video blog from the makers of Alive in Iraq.

English Wikipedia on the Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca (APPO – the leading organization of Oaxacan demonstrators)

Mexican federal police leave Oaxaca City center in sign conflict is ending
International Herald Tribune, Dec 16th

Friends of Brad Will
Memorial and support site from support group.

Credits

Oaxaca Mop by Alex Pears
oaxaca [Church Door] by Jami Dwyer
Lila Downs @ Oaxaca by Borya
Last Video of Brad Will