I don't usually write posts based on pitches I receive (many of which are, simply, crap, sadly). This one caught my attention because the subject line irritated me and resonated with Mike Manuel's post on buzz words, which I had just read. The subject line was: A Completely Different Video-based Web Portal." My first thought was, its a video web portal, how "different" can it be? Hmmm. video...web. Duh. Video web portals are popping up all over the place. Why should I take the sender's word that this is different?
So I ignored it the first time through, but didn't delete it (I don't know why). After reading Mike's post (I looked at email before I looked at my newsreader), I went back to it, because I thought it would be a good example of what he was talking about. So I opened it. First line:
At www.mediasite.com you won't find the zany homemade videos that have made YouTube.com the rage of the Internet.
Ok, so you are doing something that isn't going to be the rage? That will be different (smirk). And YouTube has much more than zany homemade videos. But on to the next paragraph:
What you will find are highly relevant video presentations by some of the world's smartest and most influential people (Jack Welsh, Prime Minister Tony Blair).
Yep, the PR person is right, this isn't going to be zany (and probably not fun either). However, from a communications perspective, there might indeed be something worthwhile here, so I clicked and visited. The first headline for a video I saw was:
Vascular Cognitive Impairment
Whoo hoo! I knew this would be fun! I'd link to it but it is in Flash with no link available (not true for all videos, but this is one of their "featured" ones. If I browsed around I suppose I could find a link).
Here are the top 10 videos:
- Introduction to Mediasite.com
- Rt Hon Tony Blair recorded live from Langham Hotel Auckland
- Massively Multiplayer Games
- Using Technology to Improve Student Learning
- Rich Media at Work webinar
- Multimedia in Your Blackboard Site
- Albert Einstein: The Man Behind the Genius – for ages 12 and up
- Newborn Screening: Are We Preapared for What's Next?
- Proofs and Pictures: The Role of Visualization in Mathematical and Scientific Reasoning
- Distance Education Overview
The site is still in beta, and it shows. I tried to browse by three different categories: Higher Education, Corporate and Government, but it showed no videos. If you do a keyword search on all, you will find 100s of videos, but they really need to improve the search interface.
You can easily email the presentation to others.
There is actually little in the way of "social media" here. It is just a video hosting service. There are no comments. No social networking of any kind is available. No RSS. No way to keep track of what is new in a category via RSS or email. Actually, if they had some of those features, this could be a useful site.
Also, there is no information about how videos get vetted to be on the service. You can submit a link, but what are the criteria for them being approved? I did a quick look around, but didn't see anything that tells me. So no transparency either.
As it is, it is far from "completely different" if that was supposed to imply something new and great. I'd call it a boring, but potentially useful expert video storage site. Perhaps I'll remember to go look at it, because it certainly won't come "looking" for me.
[Note to MediaSite Commenters: I'd love to hear what you have to say about this. I didn't contact you given the time difference between my location and yours, and I had a limited window to get this post done. I do moderate comments, but will certainly approve yours, just be aware that it might take a few hours if you post during the middle of my night.]