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Harvard Remix John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address on Youtube

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Google has already commemorated the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address with a cool doodle. Now, other organizations are using online video sharing as a vehicle for remembering the day - and there are some great video optimisation tactics to be learned from their strategy.

YouTube's Citizen Tube blog reports that "what is widely considered to be one of the best speeches in American history" has been remixed into a crowdsourced style of video by Harvard's Kennedy School to celebrate and re-create the iconic and timeless themes present with the speech:

"To celebrate the 50th anniversary Harvard's Kennedy School released a video in which present-day luminaries like Congressman John Lewis, journalist Christiane Amanpour, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Gen. Colin Powell, former FL governor Jeb Bush, activist Marian Wright Edelman, and UN Sec. Gen. Ban Ki-moon, recite passages from Kennedy's speech."

A YouTube tag search for JFK50 brings up a series of videos of Harvard's Kennedy School alumni reflecting on the meaning of the speech. These videos form the back ground of social context and related videos for the flagship video which you can see below.

One of the neat things about this strategy of uploading multiple bite-size videos around a single theme is that they can all be related together through the single tag, JFK50. This ensures that traffic to one video can secure interest in other videos around the same theme.

In turn this helps generate more traffic from more search terms as every video can be optimized for different keywords. This is worth doing because YouTube is the fifth largest website in the world and video search is so popular that, arguably, it is the second biggest search engine in the world.

Birds of a Feather Flock Together
This type of crowdsourced video is an extremely popular meme on the web and one that we have experimented a lot with on Search Engine Watch, with our own homegrown videos:

This trend first started on Vimeo with a cute series of films entitled 50 People, 1 Question.

What we have found at Search Engine Watch is that this type of video can be an excellent strategy to quickly attain top positions on Google by rapidly generating links, citations, Twitter mentions and Facebook likes.

In our experience, part of what makes video a video go viral is the 'social architecture' of the production itself. One of the key strategies to make crowdsourced video be successful is to structure your content around the underlying principles of network theory:

  • 'Status Homophily' means that people tend to socialize in with people of similar social status.

  • 'Value Homophily' highlights a counter tendency for people to associate with others who share the same values and principles, regardless of status.

The two principles actually run counter to each other which causes audiences to fragment more rapidly - meaning that the content spreads more widely.

Jonathan AllenThis post was written by Jonathan Allen, Director of Search Engine Watch, who will be speaking at SES Accelerator in San Diego on February 10th 2011 at the Next Gen YouTube Marketing session.


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