Archive for the 'YouTube' CategoryPage 2 of 14

The Anatomy of a Transnational Davos Campaign

Mindaugas Voldemaras

Meet Mindaugas Voldemaras. Mindaugas is one of the many people who submitted a video as part of the 2011 Davos Debates. Of all the efforts by applicants to get votes, Mindaugas was one of the more successful.

Mindaugas, a blogger from Lithuania, campaigned around the slogan: “Vote for Lithuania in Davos!”. He was appealing to his most salient constituency: Lithuanians.

Appealing for support from your constituency is really the best way to mobilize support on an issue. It’s a group that can be diverse but has a shared identity, kinship, and a sense of collective benefit.

From a "campaign poster" made for Mindaugas

Appealing to a salient constituency also makes it easier to find others who can help mobilize others. Mindaugas was able to find support from prominent Lithuanian tweeters, bloggers, and even Lithuanian sports fans.

The only hurdle in Mindaugas’s mobilization efforts was that everyone in Lithuania, being in the same time zone, went to sleep at more or less the same time and could only vote for him during waking hours.

When Mindaugas saw my efforts to get votes, he assumed I too was appealing to my constituency. He assumed my constituency was Canada. And, like him, he assumed I’d be limited to when Canadians were awake.

This assumption is why, thanks to you, we were able to take the #1 spot.

Click the jump to learn why.

Continue reading ‘The Anatomy of a Transnational Davos Campaign’

World Vision Vloggers

The tl;dr version: World Vision is the first charity to genuinely engage with the YouTube community. We need to support this – but we also need to make it clear we have more to offer than just vlogs.

I’ve also said the same thing in more detail (and with examples) in this video:

During my time away from Bangladesh, I’ve been talking to a lot of charities. I’ve consulted with UNICEF, presented at Save the Children HQ, entered talks with the Red Cross, and have been giving input to World Vision.

World Vision is the first charity that’s heard me out and created a plan of action to engage the YouTube community. I was glad to have some input on this. And World Vision has done it in a way that experts like Beth Kanter would be proud: they are letting outsiders come in and aren’t worrying about perfection on the first try.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know I’ve been advising charities to stop relying solely on Hollywood celebrities. Sending regular folks like Alex, Shawna, and Tom to Zambia have already generated over 300,000 views for World Vision on YouTube. See charities? I told you so.

The big challenge is the next step. My hope is that World Vision will use this success to do more ambitious things with the YouTube community. My fear is that, impressed by the amount of views they are getting, they won’t be challenged to try and engage this community in a deeper way.

If the support I’ve been getting is any indication, the YouTube community wants input on the charity work being on the ground. We want to see where the money goes, we want to see a project executed from start to finish, and we want to get to know the specific people our money has helped.

The technology to do this is here and it’s something I’ve been doing for a while now. But, after spending over 2 years to repair a school, what incentive does a charity have to do something like this again when I can only generate less than 40,000 views? Alex packing for his trip already got World Vision over 200,000 views.

This is an important moment for the YouTube community. We need to praise World Vision for engaging the YouTube community – but we also need to let them know we want more than just them replicating their celebrity-style visits with high profile YouTubers.

One way you can do this is let World Vision know. They are listening. On the World Vision Vloggers website, they have a place where you can leave a note (see the photo below for where the link is). Feel free to drop them a line. You can also tweet something using the #wvv hashtag and they will see it.

World Vision wants your feedback either through leaving a note (see link that I highlighted in the photo) or by tweeting #wvv as a hashtag.

Working For Free Only Works for a While

I just logged into my Google AdSense account to see I’ll be earning a whopping 3 cents today. This is usually the norm for the income I generate.

In fact, features and traffic surges included, since starting this project I’ve earned well under $2 a day. To put it simply: Technically, I am just as poor (if not poorer) than the people I help.

OMG I'm rich!.... okay maybe not.

With that in mind, I thought now would be a good time to talk about what role I feel ads through my YouTube partnership play in this project and how I hope it will fit into the big picture.

More after the jump…

Continue reading ‘Working For Free Only Works for a While’

A Bad Day I Can Relate To

I decided to write this blog post because I was inspired by my friend Dan Brown’s recent video called “Bad Day”. If you don’t know who Dan is and what “Dan 3.0” is about – watch this as a primer.

You could basically write a list as long as my arm as to how Dan and I are very different people, with different backgrounds, different cultural upbringings, and different global experiences.

Yet, despite all our differences, we seem to have wound up on a very similar path. YouTube is a big part of our lives, we both have extremely ambitious projects, and we both walked away from institutional education to pursue our respective visions.

It’s for this reason, I couldn’t help but see myself in Dan’s latest video.

I’ve been there. One some days – I’m still there. It’s not the ambitious scale and scope of a project that gets you down, it’s small technical hurdles which derail things. It’s like death by a thousand paper cuts.

I’ve done the sleeping during the day – where you’re too stressed to sleep but sleep enough to screw up your sleeping schedule. I’ve had the “OMG what was I thinking when I started this project?!?” moments all too often.

So Dan, if you’re reading this, I have just one thing to say: hang in there. This maybe the first bad day you’ve had in your project – but it won’t be the last. But you know what? It can be worth it.

You may find yourself one day doing something that you never imagined you’d do or finding yourself touching and inspiring people in ways you could never imagine.

And when that day happens, you’ll know in your heart that it was worth every frustrating moment, every bad day, every sleep-but-too-stressed-to-sleep night you’ve had.

You also have a lot of things to your advantage that I wish I had (your massive online audience aside). You have tons of confidence. The first thing I think of when I turn on the camera is “OMG I’m too fat, ugly, and stumble on words too much to be on camera”.

In fact, in much the same way that your videos are condensed moments when your the most cheerful, my videos are the condensed moments when I’m the most confident and am able to silence my inner-critic long enough to be on camera to say a few lines.

That’s actually why I’m blogging this. I would never have the confidence or courage to film myself during a bad day. On really bad days I just go silent: no vlogs, no tweets, nothing.

So thanks for sharing this and hang in there. And, for anyone else reading this, I wonder how many other people can relate to this in whatever projects you guys are undertaking…

Beyond Blankets

What would you say if I gave your donations to someone whom (until recently) I never met, who used it on a country I’ve never been, and helped people I’ve never seen?

What you would get is this video:

First, it must be said that this is far less sketchy than it seems. Rohan was a friend of mine long before I sent him a dime. I trusted him enough as a friend before I entrusted him with part of this project. That, of course, does limit how often I can do things like this.

Second, there is a specific reason I wanted to try something like this. Quite frankly, there is a vacuum out there when it comes to supporting people like me right now.

There are so many foundations touting themselves as supporting “social innovators”, “social entrepreneurs”, and “social change”. But, you know what? It’s nonsense.

From experience, almost all of these foundations tend to overlook people like me. Maybe because we get mistaken as a mere “film project”, or because we can’t speak their jargon, or because we operate outside of the structure they’ve built for themselves.

Which leaves people like me – whether it’s someone like Rohan doing a short trip or someone like Mark whose devoted his life to this kind of work – to go it alone. If we don’t help each other, who will?

And, by teaming up with a friend, I now have a fellow YouTuber who understands the frustrations of trying to do work like this. And how, it’s impossible to produce videos on a regular basis like most major YouTubers:

At the risk of sounding grandiose, the fact is I have a vision of how donors, supporters, and people on-the-ground should be engaging and interacting with each other. It’s a vision I’ve been putting into practice for over three years – and I have so much more I want to do.

Yet, despite you guys liking it and people on-the-ground loving it, foundations will overlook it and charities (that are fortresses) will resist it. C’est la vie. My only regret is I wish Rohan & I had the chance to do more than just help 40 families with blankets.

The future of this project really does rest with the support it gets from the YouTube community. And whether it’s people like Rohan on the ground or you guys supporting this every step of the way online – I couldn’t ask for a better support network.

Help Danielle (& Help Me Learn)

A few months back, I was contacted by the brilliant Dr. Michael Wesch. If you don’t know who he is – he’s basically writing the book (literally & figuratively) on what it means to form and be a community on the internet. This video with over a million views is one of Dr. Wesch’s most well known online works.

Dr. Wesch had contacted me because one his students is doing a term-long research project on me and the uncultured project! It’s a very surreal experience. It just seemed like yesterday I was the one doing term papers and calling up people to interview as part of my research. Now I’m the one being interviewed.

But this project isn’t about me – it’s about you guys. And I need your help.

Danielle Vaughn (the student doing the research project) has asked people to let her know why it is you support the uncultured project. Part of her report will have a video component to it, so she’s asking for people to submit video responses on YouTube to this video that she made.

I’m hoping you can help Danielle out – not just because I know how hard it is to research these things, but also because this helps me as well. For much of the time I’ve been doing this project, I’ve been guessing, assuming, or piecing together why you guys support this project.

This is a perfect opportunity for me to learn from you guys and learn what you like about UP. Not just that, but it’s also an excellent opportunity for me to have concrete feedback on certain things I should keep in mind as I move forward with this project.

For example, in this above response, I learned that the fact that I’m not selling anything and that I’m not asking for huge amounts of cash is important. I now have something I can cite the next time someone insists I should start selling t-shirts or that I should “take my work to the next level” and focus on big fundraising campaigns.

I won’t lie: the landscape of charities, non-profits, and people wanting to make a difference are changing. When I first uploaded my first video on YouTube, most charities & orgs were still only using YouTube digitize and store their TV spots. There wasn’t anything by which to compare my efforts to.

Now major charities are vlogging, creating creative online content, and interacting with their supporters. And, more often than makes sense to me, I’m told (in private) that my work is cited as the “one to beat” or the “one to copy” in boardrooms and briefings of some of the biggest (and smallest) charities.

This little project is getting less unique by the day – and maybe that’s for the better. And so this research project is a great way to put together what made this project unique in the first place – and what I can continue to build on.

[And, sidenote to charities reading this, what’s with the competition? Why hire someone to copy me when I’ll team up with you for free. I work for food, shelter, and enough logistical support to get the job done. Charity work doesn’t need to be as competitive as many of you make it to be.]

Hi CNN.com Readers =)

Hi! If you just found this website because of this CNN.com article let me give you a quick introduction. I’m Shawn and “The Uncultured Project” isn’t a charity, organization, or anything formal. Think of it as “citizen journalism” meets “citizen philanthropy”.

I raise funds online (as an individual – alas, not tax deductible) and I give 100% of what I raise away to charitable causes. And I mean 100% – I even have a friend who covers the PayPal fees of your donation (for now at least). I then show you were the money goes via YouTube and/or Twitter. Sometimes both as you can see in this video.

Most of my work focuses primarily on Bangladesh because I have an ancestry there and still have a few aunts & uncles who live there (although they’ve kinda shunned me for pursuing a project like this – but that’s another story). But, poverty exists everywhere – even around your street corner. That’s why I decided to focus on the LA Regional Food Bank – you don’t need to go overseas to help people.

If you have a few minutes to spare, you can watch my food bank video by clicking here (it’s 3 minutes long). If you want to know more about “The Uncultured Project” you can watch this (it’s also 3 minutes). And if you have a bit more time, please do check out this video of a water project I did in Bangladesh that took over a year to complete (it’s a 4 minute video).

If you are wondering how to support my work – well, donating isn’t the biggest way. The biggest way is by helping me build a bigger voice on YouTube. Please consider signing up for a YouTube account (it’s free) and subscribing to my channel on YouTube. The bigger the voice this project can get, the better the chances that sustainability and more opportunities can come around the corner.

I also want to give a shout-out to my friends Hank & John Green (who were also quoted in that article). Without Hank & John, I wouldn’t have started to accept online donations from the public (they also get automatically notified every time you make a project donation). Also a huge thanks to my friends working at YouTube (many of whom I got to meet IRL) who made this interview with CNN possible.

Stick around. There are lots of hurdles – but I’m positive the best is yet to come.