RAQ: Recommendations for Webinar and Video Services?

Here’s a recent question from the inbox:

Hi Lee…I attended one of your sessions a few months back – Was terrific and learned much. Wanted to ask you – We are looking into doing webinars where consumers can register to attend, see either video or PPT slides while a moderator is chatting at the same time. Do you have any recommendations of a company or product that would allow us to do webinars? Some kind of webinar host company?

A. First, I’ll give you the MacGyver method, as demonstrated in Twitter 152. Use a video streaming service like Ustream.tv and embed slides using Slideshare.net. That lets you show slides while streaming video from your webcam. It’s all free. A little clunky maybe, but free.

I recently had an experience with my friend Lucien Engelen (@zorg20) in which he showed me a product call VuRoom, which is a plug-in for Skype that allows up to 8 people to be in a video chat together. The same company also has a product called VuCast which I haven’t tried, but looks like it can handle 10,000+ participants.

Other choices are WebEx, GoToMeeting, Windows LiveMeeting and Adobe Connect. I have used all of these as a guest presenter, but haven’t signed up for a contract with any of them. Here’s a chart (consider the source) from the VuCast gang that compares features.

What is your experience with these services? What do you see as the pros and cons of each?

RAQ: Video Editing Software for Windows?

The following question comes from Rachel Labas in Massachusetts, who attended one of my recent presentations:

Q: My colleague and I really enjoyed your presentation and got some great ideas from it.  I was the one who asked the question about what type of software you use to edit your Flip videos.  We don’t have Macs here, and are a small dept, so I’d love to hear what you use to edit the video on a PC.  Thanks!

Answer: If you’re using a standard definition Flip video camera, Windows Movie Maker works fine. But it doesn’t handle HD, so you need to look elsewhere. Moravi Video Suite is a versatile and inexpensive option.

For Macintosh, as I mentioned in my presentation, Quicktime Pro is a good option if you’re just pulling out a single sound bite. For more complex edits, iMovie, Final Cut Express or Final Cut Pro are good choices.

What do you use for editing HD video?

RAQ: Tips for Starting a Personal Blog?

Today I had the opportunity to do a presentation for a group in St. Cloud, Minn., and afterward Misty Sweeter (@MistyS01), a recent PR graduate, tweeted a question:

Hi Lee, good job presenting at Creative Memories today! Got me thinking about starting my own personal blog, any tips?

A. First, I think it’s great you’re considering starting your own blog. As you’re looking for ways to distinguish yourself, starting a blog is a great way to do it. It lets you show you can write, and to expand on your ideas.

I would recommend using WordPress.com as your platform, because it’s easy, fast and free, but yet gives you a lot of power to develop your own customized look. Blogger.com is likewise free, and some say it’s simpler, but unlike WordPress.com it doesn’t give you the opportunity to move to a self-hosted solution as you grow.

Even though the basic WordPress.com service is free, I would recommend that you spend about $20 for one upgrade.

When you set up your WordPress.com account, your blog’s URL would be something like mistysweeter.wordpress.com. That’s fine unless you decide later that you want to move to a self-hosted version of WordPress. So you want to take “wordpress.com” out of your URL. You can accomplish this by purchasing a URL (like mistysweeter.com, if it’s available) and using domain mapping to have that be your blog’s URL, even though it would be hosted on WordPress.com.

The whole thing will probably cost you about $20 a year, but the value is that it helps you build your personal brand, and one that can have some staying power. The last thing you want to do is write some good posts, have others link to them, and then move your blog to a new domain, which would mean those external links would be broken.

So buying the domain name will probably cost you about $10 a year, and the domain mapping on WordPress.com also will cost $10 per year.

This course, Blogging 305: Domain Mapping, give details on how you do this.

Beyond that, just think about what you want to write, and whether you want to include video posts as well. I think having some video will show you as a more well-rounded communicator, and having some text-based posts will enable you to showcase your writing and thinking processes.

I’ll look forward to seeing what you do with this.

RAQ: Do Seniors use Social Media?

Here’s a recently asked question from Sturle Monstad (@sturlemo), from Bergen, Norway:


Thanks for collecting such a wealth of info on your SMUG site. I am using the resources in my work with health promotion for older adults. I have a contract with Lions Club in Norway on a programme they are setting up a web site for them. I am now trying to include social media for marketing and community building.

They are a bit skeptical, but well see how things work out. We see that seniors are getting more active on Facebook, and I think the interaction may be positive for many. Have you written anything about social media/seniors?


First, thanks for helping to put the “Global” in SMUG!

As I say in Thesis 23, almost everybody uses social media today, whether they know it or not. You point out correctly that Facebook is growing rapidly among those over age 55, having increased by more than 900 percent in 2009.

I also can tell you that on our Mayo Clinic YouTube channel, almost 30 percent of video views are from people age 55 or older.

As these tools are becoming ever easier to use, the growth of social media will continue. I believe women over 55, for example, are the fastest-growing demographic in Facebook.

It all comes down to whether the content or subject matter is worthwhile and interesting.

My dad turns 79 on Saturday. He’s on Facebook, too, because it’s a way to see video and photos of his great-granddaughter.

Social platforms, from blogs to Facebook to YouTube, make it easier for anyone to share information that others will find interesting.

What do you think? What other statistics or arguments about senior citizens and social media can you offer to Sturle? Do you have any personal examples or case studies to share?

RAQ: What platform do you recommend for Twitter chats?

This question comes from Chris Patota (@WestchesterPR), and is shared with permission:

I just came across your blog today, and I think it’s a great resource for people like me who are trying to leverage social media for business. I have a quick question for you…what is your preferred Twitter Chat technology? I would like to use a Twitter chat for one of my clients’ events, so I wanted to see if you had any recommendations.


Thanks, Chris. As I describe in this post on “3 Steps to Joining or Leading a Twitter Chat,” I’ve mainly been recommending using the basic Twitter interface, because it requires less training than some other options.

Especially for newbies, that seems to be the most straightforward, so users don’t need to install Tweetdeck or some other application. There is enough to learn without complicating the process with another application.

Tweetchat.com is OK too, and saves the need to enter the hashtag each time…but to me the Twitter interface has gotten good enough (with a saved search, as described in Twitter 116) to make that work well.

I personally like to use Tweetdeck, and just create a search pane for the hashtag. This is especially helpful for chats that recur from week to week, such as #hcsm, or otherwise have some ongoing activity. That enables me to check at a glance whether there is anything new, instead of having to remember to click the #hcsm link on my Twitter interface.

I also would advise you to have new Tweeps sign up for their accounts and do a few tweets in advance, because I’ve noted that sometimes new users’ tweets don’t show up reliably in Twitter search. So you might want to have them do a few tweets using your proposed hashtag.

If anyone has a way to ensure the inclusion of new users’ tweets in Twitter search, please share it in the comments on this post.