Edmonton Election 2010: Video Resources & Statistics

With less than five days to go until the election, time is running out for candidates to spread their message and for Edmontonians to get informed. I suspect there will be lots of people “cramming” over the weekend! Currently, 90 out of the 112 candidates running in this election have a website. Most of those websites have information on issues, platforms, etc. That information is great, but it can be hard to get a sense of someone through text alone.

Video can help you learn about a candidate in a different way. Body language, intonation, and emotion are all important aspects of communication that are lost when all you’ve got is text. From a practical perspective however, video is difficult to use. It can take significant time and effort to both create and consume. And if recent research is to be believed, it can be hard to justify the cost when nearly 20% of viewers abandon a video after just 10 seconds!

That might help to explain why just 12 of the candidates have YouTube pages. In total, they have uploaded 76 videos this election season, which in total have been viewed over 10,000 times (about 134 times each, on average).

In total, I have aggregated 1046 videos related to the election at ShareEdmonton (so far). You can see all videos, videos by ward, or videos by candidate. For example:

Here are some statistics on the aggregated videos:

  • Every video has been viewed at least once. In total, those 1046 videos have been viewed more than 26,000 times.
  • The average number of views per video is 25.
  • Daniel Dromarsky’s video on the Downtown Arena is the most viewed.
  • There are 104 videos with comments (9.9%).
  • The average number of comments on those videos is just under 2.
  • Daniel Dromarsky’s video on the City Centre Airport has the most comments.
  • There are 142 videos with ratings (13.6%).
  • The average rating on those videos is 4.2. There are 108 videos with an average rating of 5.

The vast majority of those videos have been uploaded within the last month or so.

That lonely video off to the left is from Ward 1 candidate Andrew Knack, who definitely started early.

There have been two key producers of election-related video: CTVnewsEdmonton and edpublicschools. Of the 1046 videos, those two users have uploaded 916. As a result, most candidates have some kind of video online, and a number of them have simply embedded CTV’s or Edmonton Public Schools’ videos on their own websites.

There are lots of other places to find election video (and audio):

And hey, what’s a post about video without an actual video! Here is one from the edmontonian on the basics of the municipal election:

You can watch part two here.

The final mayoral forum takes place tonight at Eastglen School, and election day is Monday! On election night, only CTV is planning to have live coverage on television, but there will be lots of online coverage. ShareEdmonton will be updating live with results, I’m sure #yegvote will be busy on Twitter, and the edmontonian will be broadcasting live.

Make sure you vote!

Fortune fires up the photocopier for PayPal story

Fortune published an article today about "the hyperintelligent, superconnected pack of serial entrepreneurs" who left PayPal for bigger and better things; a group of individuals they have dubbed "the PayPal mafia". Founded in 1998, PayPal itself is fairly interesting, but the people behind it are downright fascinating!

As I was reading the article, I had the strangest sense of déjà vu. It was like I had read the article already! A quick search revealed that I had, over a year ago, at the New York Times. I just gave it a quick re-read, and it’s really amazing how similar the Fortune article is to the one that appeared in the Times last October.

Here are a couple examples. From the New York Times article:

Since 2002, when dozens of employees left PayPal after it was bought by eBay for $1.5 billion, those workers have gone on to start or join a new generation of Internet companies and other ventures. They have remained a tight-knit group, attending each other’s parties, helping to shape each other’s business plans, backing each other’s companies and recruiting each other for new projects.

Silicon Valley was largely built by networks of people and companies whose interlocking relationships help to spawn new start-ups. But the PayPal alumni have been unusually prolific…

And from the Fortune article:

Most of PayPal’s key employees left eBay, but they stayed in touch. They even have a name for themselves: the PayPal mafia. And the mafiosi have been busy.

During the past five years they’ve been furiously building things – investment firms, philanthropies, solar-power companies, an electric-car maker, a firm that aims to colonize Mars, and of course a slew of Internet companies. It’s amazing how many hot web properties can trace their ancestries to PayPal.

Again, from the New York Times article:

The company was losing millions each month. It was besieged by hackers who used technological trickery to siphon off huge sums from the company’s coffers.

And the Fortune article:

Meanwhile, PayPal losses were multiplying. It battled Russian fraudsters who were filching millions by cribbing credit card numbers.

See what I mean? Both stories follow the exact same formula, and touch on the exact same points. Of course this happens all the time in the media, but over a year apart? Seems kind of strange to me. Granted, the Fortune article does go into a bit more detail, but still.

It’s an interesting story, even if it has been written twice now. I was going to pull out the list of companies that former PayPalers have been involved with, but it has already been done at Wikipedia, of course. Facebook and YouTube are the heavy-hitters.

Both articles do a good job of detailing the tightly-knit group of individuals behind PayPal and many other startups. The topic I wish they’d follow-up on? How to break into that group.

Read: Fortune

Google on Acquisitions

Post ImageA few hours ago I was reading some of the stuff on TechMeme, when I came across this article about Google. I thought Dickson might find it interesting, so I fired it off to him in an IM. He replied a few moments later with this quote from the article:

Google wants companies that can build revenue streams from their users, instead of buying firms with a lot of users that don’t bring in much in sales, Ullah said.

“We don’t do traffic for traffic’s sake,” he said. “It has to be highly monetizable.”

And then followed that up with this message:

Uhhh…YouTube?! lol

Haha so true! Ullah, who is Google’s director of corporate development, basically just described the very company they purchased last year for $1.65 billion. Which begs the question…what kind of companies do they really want?

Read: Bloomberg

Google Video searches YouTube

Post ImageGoogle announced today that it has integrated YouTube results into Google Video. This is the beginning of a transition for Google Video from hosting provider to search. Liz over at NewTeeVee wonders if this is necessary:

In thinking about video search, we’ve been concerned that with the huge number of videos coming into and and video streams coming out of YouTube, there would be little need for — well — video search.

I think there’s a huge need for video search. Just because most of the videos are in one place doesn’t make the search good or effective. There’s lots of things Google can do with it’s video search product to make it the destination. I’m thinking about speech and visual recognition to improve accuracy, and other really complex things.

When it acquired YouTube, Google got more than just a video hosting site. It got unfettered access to one of the largest test beds for video search around. That’s a big asset to have when you’re trying to build an excellent search engine.

Read: NewTeeVee

Comedy Central smarter than the average bear!

Post ImageOver the last few days word has spread that Comedy Central asked YouTube to remove clips of the Colbert Report and the Daily Show, under terms of the DMCA. When I first heard about it, I was really disappointed in Comedy Central. It seems they only decided to make a fuss now that Google owns YouTube. I thought they were really shortsighted, and indeed stupid, for ignoring the fact that YouTube is a huge buzz machine for its shows.

Today however, Jeff Jarvis is reporting that they didn’t ask YouTube to remove all clips, just some of them. Further investigation shows that only clips longer than 5 minutes have been removed.

I think it is really in Comedy Central’s best interests to allow clips to appear on YouTube. Not entire episodes certainly, but short clips. Even if they don’t make any money from the clips immediately, it would be a good experiment. You’ll never understand how to take advantage of the fast changing media distribution landscape until you try something new.

Read: BuzzMachine

Google buys YouTube for $1.65 billion

Post ImageThe ramifications of this deal will be felt for quite some time. CNET News.com is reporting that Google has purchased video sharing site YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock. The deal has been rumored for some time, but I didn’t think it would actually go through:

“This is one of many investments that Google will be making to put video at the heart of a user’s online experience,” said Google CEO Eric Schmidt on a conference call after the deal was announced. “When we looked at the marketplace and saw what was going on, we saw a clear winner in the social networking side of video, and that’s what drove us to start the conversations with YouTube.”

You can listen to an audio interview with Eric Schmidt and YouTube CEO Chad Hurley here.

Also today, YouTube announced some major distribution deals with the big record labels. All of a sudden, the threat of a lawsuit looks much less likely, doesn’t it? I wonder what the MySpace people will think of this deal. I’m sure they are a little scared now that YouTube has Google’s backing.

So the deal is done, Google is now king of video. Still, I can’t help but wonder if a simple, exclusive ad-deal with YouTube would have been a better investment for Google? I guess time will tell.

Read: CNET News.com

White and Nerdy

Post ImageWeird Al has done it again! If you haven’t seen the video for his new song, “White and Nerdy”, you must. It’s really that good! Well as long as you understand the jokes I suppose. You can watch it on YouTube.

Most of Weird Al’s stuff makes me laugh, but this one especially. I’m definitely not a trekkie or anything, but I still think he covered all the “nerd” bases, except possibly being a cultish Mac lover. Where was that one Al? Other than that, great song and video 🙂

Read: YouTube

Lonelygirl15 dances with Tucker Carlson!

Post ImageI was just watching The Tonight Show, and Jay Leno did a segment called “videos we found on YouTube”. Of course, he showed one of lonelygirl15’s videos (not sure who I am talking about? read this NYTimes article…it will bring you up to speed). And right after that, she came out on to the stage! She basically confessed everything we already knew (well if you have read the article linked above anyway). Then she said she wasn’t so lonely anymore, and Tucker Carlson (who Jay had made fun of earlier for getting kicked off “Dancing with the stars”) came on stage and they danced! It was pretty funny. Even though I really don’t like Tucker Carlson.

Lonelygirl15 is actually aspiring actress Jessica Rose (and she’s 19, not 15). Apparently she’s pretty amazed with the attention she is getting. There’s lots of commenters out there who just keep calling her “fake” and are angry that they were led on. I say, does it matter? Her and her three buddies have done something pretty amazing! I can’t wait to see what else is created now that they have “broken new ground” in a sense. You can’t be mad at them for being creative!

Here is lonelygirl15’s page on YouTube. I can’t seem to find a clip from tonight’s show, but by the time you read this, it’ll probably be up on YouTube somewhere.

Snakes on The Daily Show

Post ImageWhat could possibly be better than Snakes on a Plane? Samuel L. Jackson talking with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show about Snakes on a Plane! You can watch the clip at YouTube. Apparently Samuel L. Jackson can “negotiate his ass off” for the sequel, because he didn’t sign any sequel contracts. Don’t you just love the ‘L’ in Samuel L. Jackson? Makes him so much more badass.

You know, I never watch The Daily Show on TV anymore. I pretty much only watch clips and segments on YouTube now. Welcome to 2006.

Read: YouTube

YouTube Popularity

Post ImageInteresting piece up at News.com about YouTube and the phenomenal success it has been having, at least in terms of traffic. No one is quite sure how they are going to make money, or if they have staying power, but they certainly do not have a lack of users:

According to numbers provided by traffic-tracking company ComScore Networks, YouTube received 4.2 million unique visitors in February. Those numbers are good enough to outpace Apple Computer’s iTunes (3.5 million) and put it within spitting distance of eBaumsworld.com (4.4 million) and AOL Video (4.7 million), both of which have been in business longer.

Personally, I think YouTube is going to run into very big problems. Lately when I have been on the site, I have come across a lot of videos that display a “removed due to copyright infringement” message, and I can only guess that it will get worse before it gets any better.

Like most Web 2.0 companies, they plan to use advertising to make money:

“We’re experimenting with different business models,” she said. “It’s not going to be a traditional model, that is for sure. Right now, we don’t want to disrupt the user experience. But eventually, we’re going to introduce extremely relevant ads that will benefit users and won’t disrupt the service.”

I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it here again – Google is an anomaly. I don’t think advertising is a truly sustainable business model, and even if it works for YouTube, they’ll never reach the levels that Google has. I think they need something besides simply advertising to truly make it.

Read: CNET News.com