Two Mayo Clinic Testimonials

Earlier this week, I saw this video from Glenn Beck about his experience at Mayo Clinic:

Partway through, Mr. Beck talks about his conversation with a Mayo Clinic nurse, and how he was surprised to learn that what he was perceiving as being treated “like a king” was actually fairly representative of the experience of average patients. So here’s a video I shot with my Flip camera in our early days of the Mayo Clinic YouTube channel, with the husband of a patient who had traveled from Connecticut:

I enjoy so much hearing these stories from people having their first experience at Mayo Clinic. They’re a great reminder of why we go to work each day.


Periscope goes Horizontal

With an update released yesterday, the good folks at Periscope have eliminated one of the downsides of their video-streaming app as compared with rival Meerkat:

Now we can stream video horizontally instead of vertically, and still have viewers fully able to interact with comments.

Yesterday when I was doing a Periscope from the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, one of the first comments from viewers was that I should switch to horizontal mode. I couldn’t do that in the middle of the broadcast, but after I was done I sat down to give it a try, on my personal Periscope account, and had a nice conversation with viewers.

One of the things I learned is that it worked well for participants who had the updated app, but for those still using the old version it felt buggy.

Takeaway #1: Everybody – please update to the latest version of Periscope for iOS or Android.

Why does horizontal video matter?

As I described in this post on our Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media site, one of the downsides of Periscope is that the archives expire after 24 hours. We want to use Periscope to provide behind-the-scenes glimpses of Mayo Clinic, including tours, and would like to upload the video to our Mayo Clinic YouTube channel.

Unfortunately, vertical video isn’t attractive on YouTube, which uses a widescreen format.

So we developed a hack that involved

  • Creating a Keynote presentation with photos from the tour,
  • Placing the vertical video clips within the slides, and then
  • Exporting the Keynote presentation to QuickTime for upload to YouTube.

It wasn’t ideal, but it at least avoided the letterbox look. And the other downside was that it took another couple of hours to create the video, after the tour was done. Still, it felt worthwhile to get enduring access to the tours.

The new Periscope feature doesn’t completely solve the problem, but it reduces the time for video post-production by about 90 percent.

Why is it incomplete? Because the video saved to the camera roll (at least in iOS) is still in a vertical format, although now it’s sideways like this:

Horizontal vertical

Fortunately, there’s a three-step solution that takes only a few minutes.

  1. Open iMovie for iPhone and import the Periscope clip from your camera roll.
  2. As this helpful article indicates, once you’ve selected the clip in the timeline, just put your thumb and forefinger together and twist 90 degrees, and the clip will rotate.
  3. Finally, export the clip as a new movie file.

Now you’ll have a horizontal video that you can upload to YouTube, or edit further. I’ll likely transfer the files to my laptop, because I’ll be able to edit more precisely and quickly in that version of iMovie.

There will be some bumps in the transition, such as for services like, which have been archiving ‘scopes. They’ll need to adjust to keep them from looking like this:

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 7.49.25 AM

But overall, this is an exciting (and for us, time-saving) advance from Periscope!

Update: Here’s an edited version of my first horizontal Periscope, uploaded to YouTube:

Web Replays Extend Periscope Views

In addition to its being owned by Twitter, one of Periscope’s positives (as compared with rival Meerkat) was that its broadcasts have some enduring quality (24 hours.)

But as a mobile-mainly platform, one of Periscope’s limitations had been that archived broadcasts could only be viewed on the iOS or Android apps, not on the Web.

That just changed yesterday:

So, for example, here’s a broadcast from Kim Garst (shared with me by colleague Tony Hart) on how to promote your Periscope broadcast. You can watch it until about 9 a.m. CDT on Thursday, June 25.

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 9.10.54 AM

It will be interesting to see what this does to replay views for Periscope broadcasts, and for the popularity of the platform as compared with Meerkat.

What do you think?


Helpful is more important than Viral

Alternate title: Why JAMES is the NBA MVP instead of BOSH.

For those of us working in social media, having a “viral” video or blog post is one of the goals to which we often aspire.

In some ways it seems like the ultimate validation, like butane lighters flicking on in tribute at the end of a musician’s concert. Seeing the view counts climb steadily – or even explosively – provides a great jolt of adrenaline or some other helpful brain chemical.

Some have identified keys to virality, which you can remember using a mnemonic involving the surname of the third amigo of the NBA champion Miami Heat:

  • Brevity – The “rules” vary, but most would say two minutes is the outer limit of post-modern attention span
  • Oddity – The more unusual, the more likely viewers will pass along to their friends
  • Serendipity – an unexpected twist; a pleasant surprise that makes you laugh, which leads to the last key…
  • Hilarity – If it makes people laugh, they’ll want to share.

If you have other factors to suggest (and maybe a revised mnemonic), add them in the comments.

But in health care social media, the keys to virality don’t usually apply. Diseases aren’t funny. A video about an unusual condition is generally less relevant to the online masses, and therefore less likely to spread. You can’t manufacture serendipity. And because of the complexity of our subject matter, brevity isn’t always in the interest of patients.

This isn’t a knock against viral videos. I enjoy them as much as anyone, and my sense of humor is, as they say in genetic counseling, overexpressed.

So viral shouldn’t be your goal in health care social media. Shoot for helpful instead, and instead of Chris Bosh, use the MVP’s last name to help you remember:

  • Jiffy –By jiffy I mean make the production relatively quick. Don’t overcomplicate it. Keeping costs low is a major key to cost-effectiveness. The rest of the mnemonic focuses on the “effectiveness” factor in the equation.
  • Accessible – Explain the subject clearly and in a way patients will understand, without jargon. Also make sure you optimize your video title, tags and description to enable users to more easily find it.
  • Meaty – Don’t let arbitrary time limits keep you from conveying the information that would be valuable to your audience. But do edit the video to make it as fast-paced as possible. Take out the filler so the most important content can shine through.
  • Expert – The expertise of your physicians and scientists is the most important resource you have to offer. Their willingness to share specialized knowledge is extremely valuable.
  • Solid – While production should be Jiffy, it shouldn’t be sloppy. As legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden used to say, “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” Always use a tripod to keep your camera steady. Shoot your video in a quiet room, especially if you are using a camera that doesn’t allow an external microphone. Avoid back-lighting that makes your subject look like a part of the witness protection program. Don’t distract viewers from expert, meaty content.

What do you think? What other characteristics are important for helpful health-related videos?