Video: The New Literacy

In an address last year, Bill Rankin (Apple’s Director of Learning) said “making videos is a new literacy.” With the explosive growth of video in the last few years and its trajectory for continued growth, video is quickly becoming the dominant communication medium. According to Syndacast,  74% of all Internet traffic by next year will be video.

This notion of being “video literate” is intriquing. Ages ago in the Egyptian culture, only 1% of the population could read or write. These literate scribes were entrusted with writing and reading skills, as well as translations on behalf of their citizenry. Then in various cultures over the ages, literacy began to grow at variable rates. The advent of the printing press and the wider distribution of books also accelerated the spread of literacy. Benjamin Franklin’s idea to create lending institutions for sharing books without fees (our modern day library) also contributed to the cause, as did many other educational variables, and cultural shifts.

Today, we are faced with a need for a new literacy – video literacy. Many professionals have not been trained as videographers, cinematographer, on-camera talent, lighting specialists, and video script writers. Yet in the age of digital media, almost everyone has access to HD video cameras on smart phones and tablets. Publically accessible video platforms such as YouTube and vimeo have made it easy for us to record video ourselves and distribute them with relative ease to a global audience.

However, after watching many of the videos available to global viewers, you may notice some interesting trends. Videos are often handheld creating the “shaky cam” syndrome which is difficult for viewers to watch. Other videos are shot in the dark or backlit, as video requires lots of light. Some video messages ramble on and lose viewers within the first 30 seconds. Other videos showcase very poor audio quality. Some presenters on video aren’t sure where to look, how to move, and reveal their discomfort on-camera, and the list goes on.

So is recording a quality, effective video a new literacy?

Absolutely. As we transition to this age of dominant video communication, there are slight shifts all of us can make to raise the quality and improve our effectiveness. From technical aspects to visual framing, and from message design to on-camera presence, competencies exist that many professionals don’t yet know that they don’t know. By learning how to change a few things in video in order to create a greater impact, we align ourselves to reach our video message goals.

Video literacy begins with learning what those slight shifts are that we need to make. We need to learn and practice how to improve our ability to communicate effectively in this new medium. It is an exciting time for pioneering . . . are you ready?

What’s one thing you’ve noticed recently that video presenters could improve? Would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Finding Your Passion

mtn climb

Have you found your passion?

Is it mountain climbing? Writing? Performing on stage? Teaching? Making crafts? Cooking?

Joseph Campbell is attributed with the famous call to action to “follow your bliss.” This profound statement encourages all hearers to look deep inside and find within–that about which we are truly, innately passionate. However, mere discovery is only part of this call to action. This charge also necessitates the courage to follow and pursue one’s bliss. It’s almost as if an effervescent seed has been planted within – hidden clues on a scavenger hunt to find your life’s destiny. Once discovered, this passion can unfold with seemingly effortless ease.

But how does one find their passion?

We simply need to pay attention.

We’ve all observed those individuals who gravitate toward their natural interests. They radiate enthusiasm for those interests, and continue to apply them repeatedly, eventually becoming very skilled and highly respected in their areas of domain. These individuals can even become more effective and productive – quite simply, because they love what they do. Whether it be mountain climbing, childcare work, dental surgery, singing, acts of compassion, city engineering, or youth ministry, individuals who have found their passion realize what they were meant to do because they paid attention.

We can all think of people who are living their passion. The list is extensive, but here are a few exceptional individuals who come to mind. Feel free to use the reply box below to share others who exemplify passion to you.

  • Michael Jordan – an exceptional basketball player who sets his own gold standard.
  • Natalie MacMaster – who has a passion for Nova Scotia music, and is one of the world’s best Fiddlers.
  • Maya Angelou – a prolific American poet and author who has touched all our lives.
  • J.K. Rowling – renowed author of the Harry Potter series who said all she ever wanted to do was to write books.
  • Steve Jobs – revolutionized the way we communicate through technology with his leadership at Apple.
  • Derek Hough – a passionate dancer who continues to raise the bar for his own standards of ballroom dance.

Do you notice a pattern? There are actually several patterns emerging here, but some of them include:  enjoyment; talent, hard work; and focus. Another common pattern is that a natural outcome of their lives’ pursuit is the joy and inspiration it brings to others. You see, when you pursue your bliss, it’s not just you who benefits, but those with whom you share your talents and abilities.

Delivering presentations and speaking to audiences is one of my passions. Because I naturally love speaking to audiences, I enjoy the magic that comes from connecting with an audience whether it be in-person or in a virtual setting. Because of this, I also enjoy coaching others to improve their effectiveness as presenters. This is not something that you manufacture. This is not something you make yourself cultivate.

It just is.

Have you looked deep inside yourself? Have you found your passion? If you have, are you pursuing it? If not, what’s holding you back? The passion planted deep within you has a purpose for you and those around you. It is up to you to discover it, nurture it, improve your skill set, be mentored, gain experience, and then blossom by sharing your gifts with the world.

Although pursuing your passion may seem like an unsurmountable mountain pass at times, once you do what you love and love what you do, “the universe will open doors for you where {before} there were only walls.” (Joseph Campbell)

What is your bliss?