Archive for May, 2012

Visual Media (video/photos) – A Direct Route to Social Media Adoption

May 17th, 2012

My work is mostly about helping organizations integrate social media into their culture (mindset) communication strategies, policies and services.

Lately, I’ve come to realize that integrating visual media like video and photos is an equally effective route for organizations to keep pace with their digitally progressive social customers,clients and employees.

Even prior to my decision to leave my 25 years of community development and youth work I was enamoured with video, audio and photography. I saw these tools as a great way to engage youth and communities and to encourage personal growth. As I took on more and more work involving visual media, I realized that I just couldn’t get by with your basic, low cost video/photo equipment.  The emergence of  professional style video cameras priced for everyday users compelled me to step up and purchase one of these beautiful cameras.

What I settled on was the Sony NEX 5n mirrorless compact system camera (not a DSLR but a CSC). Having this camera has turned me on to a whole new world of video and photography. Not only can I produce high quality video and photos for clients, I can help practitioners use visual media to add to their professional development and the service performance of their organization.

The reviews on the Sony NEX 5n camera are outstanding. It’s intelligent auto feature is so well designed it puts the stress of learning new technical information to rest. I can take my time to learn all the manual options while shooting great video or photos with the auto setting on.

Here is a quick description and link to the EOSHD a DSLR website that gives an in-depth review and comparison between the Sony NEX  5n and the Panasonic GH2 cameras. The comparison focuses on low light video recording.

The Sony NEX 5N is the first DSLR* from Sony that offers manual control in video mode and 24p. It precedes the higher end Sony A77 and NEX 7 by about 2 months and is priced at just $599 for the body only. The 18-55mm OSS kit lens is video optimised and has a very effective optical stabiliser. A 50mm F1.8 OSS prime will follow soon (I tried one at IFA, it’s great to finally have a stabiliser on a fast prime!) and the OLED viewfinder add-on.

* I use the term DSLR as an umbrella term for cameras now – when technically the new Sonys are SLT or mirrorless compact system cameras (CSC).

I highly recommend this camera for professional or personal use. The price is reasonable and it produces outstanding video and photos. If your agency or business is looking for good quality and an easy to learn camera, this one delivers on so many levels.


Visual Media (videos and photos) on Your Website

May 3rd, 2012

Research is clearly demonstrating how visual media like video and photos significantly adds to an organization’s impact and outcomes. Would you like to use quality visual media on your website but don’t have the staff resources to take on this important communications task?

Here are a few ways that visual media can help your organization or business:

  • Sharing powerful stories that communicates your unique mission or purpose;
  • Building a feeling of value and trust for your organization in your audiences;
  • Enhancing and supporting staff training/professional development;
  • Capturing knowledge acquired at workshops that you can repurpose at a later time;
  • Integrating visual media into your overall business communication strategy;

Through my company, Social Media Tools for Work and Learning, I help organizations improve their performance and long term outcomes. My 25 years of managing community organizations combined with ten years of social media experience gives me a unique appreciation for the challenges faced by the social service and business sector.

I love to use photos and videos that tell powerful stories that inspire and energise. Visual media can help extend the reach of your organization to build membership, increase awareness, broaden your funding base and deepen relationships in and outside your organization.

You can view and download my Visual Media Services flyer below (PDF). The flyer will give you a quick overview of the value and benefits of using visual media on your website.

If you are interested in learning more about my video media services, I would be pleased to chat with you.

Visual Media Services – Brent MacKinnon


How Blogging and the Internet Has Given me Freedom

May 2nd, 2012

Hugh MacLeod from his Gapingvoid blog asked his readers to tell their story about how blogging or the Internet has given them freedom. His request is tied into the launch of his new book “Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear“.

As a huge fan of Hugh’s gapingvoid cartoons or social objects as he calls them, I’m pleased to respond with my story.

First off, a bit of context. I’m a life time community/youth worker who four years ago, switched to a career as a free lance social media consultant.

I’ve worked with many organizations over my 25 plus years and looking back I see that I was always attracted to developing and working on projects that were experimental and dare I say cutting edge. Along came the Internet and deep in my gut I knew these new forms of communications were as cutting edge as I’d ever experience.

In the late 1990’s, hardly knowing how to use a keyboard, I took the plunge into the computer driven world. I soon experienced my first inkling of autonomy and an appreciation for a new found ability to design programs and control my own professional/personal learning needs via the Internet.

Fast forward a few years and I’m increasingly using the latest social media tools such as blogging, video and podcasting as a strategy to empower youth by giving them a sense of pride and accomplishment as they created and published their stories. I was also blogging regularly on matters related to community/youth work and on breaking news in the world of social media.

My last JOB was with Street Kids International and again I was using blogging, video and social media tools to support the outcomes of my capacity building program. Specifically, I was disseminating the learning from a community of practice initiative that had practitioners from many sectors innovating around new skills and networks that can better address youth poverty.

As my role with Street Kids ended, I connected with Jason Mogus from the Communicopia and Web of Change organization that sponsored the first Social Tech Training Conference in Toronto (SST 2008).

It was at this conference that I decided on a new career path as a free lance social media consultant, helping groups in the burgeoning field of social tech integration or development of web 2.0 strategies to better serve their constituents.

Since that major turning point, I’ve never regretted my choice to work free lancer in the social media sector. It’s not being easy by any means as I discovered that paying work was at times, hard to find.

I also realized how difficult it is for leaders to adopt new strategies that open up their organizations and empower staff to share, connect and learn together.

Despite those challenges, I am continually learning, developing new skills and discovering new qualities of my personality. I deeply and intuitively know that I am on  the right journey.

We truly live in exciting times. I’m feeling very fortunate to be an active participant online, sharing my work via my blog and connecting with so many fellow travelers who are expanding their learning through the Internet.

Freedom is as freedom does – thanks for the challenge Hugh.



Collaboration in the Workplace