Tuesday, June 21, 2011

eHarmony Video Bio Parody, Breakdancing Gorilla On YouTube? Blame Oprah

Sorry that Zola the Breakdancing Gorilla's the latest YouTube viral video?

Upset that there are hundreds of eHarmony Video Bio Parody copy cats littering the YouTube website?

Blame Oprah.

That's right: Oprah!

Oprah Winfrey's emergence onto the YouTube stage starting November 1, 2007 , is to blame for the proliferation of shows and "lowest common denominator" video clips. And all of this frenetic activity culminated in the eHarmony Video Bio, which was posted two weeks ago, and reached 8 million views within just six days.

And the Breakdancing Gorilla, a video featuring Zola, of the Calgary Zoo, who repeatedly spins on one foot while splashing water in the 40-second clip that has been the focus of 132 news articles on Google News today.

Here's Zola, breakdancing:

What Oprah did in 2007 was open the flood gates for videos that didn't feature people talking about something and to each other. When Oprah came on YouTube and, in refusing to take comments and response videos and getting front page positioning, effectively pushed aside the YouTube Community.

What followed on the days after Oprah's YouTube debut was a hue and cry from the video-blogging community. Understand that prior to Oprah's arrival, videos that featured a conversational thread often got the most views on the video - sharing site. And that dynamic made vloggers like Paul Robinet AKA "Renetto" YouTube's first home-grown stars.

Oprah was seen as the death of YouTube as vloggers knew it.

A video-blogger by the name of "Paperlillies" said it best in 2007. In fact Paperlillies accurately forecast the evolution of the YouTube site we enjoy today, when she observed that "as a result of corporate identies and corporate entities coming on to YouTube, there's a completely crazy playing field now.

Whereas it used to be that videos that were really creative and really well made - it was the good videos that got views. Now, it's the videos that are the most sensationalist. It's the videos that are the lowest common denominator (that get the most views and attention).

Zola The Breakdancing Gorilla and eHarmony Video Bio are the best examples, but the eHarmony Video Bio is particularly troublesome because it has spawned parody after parody - what seem to be hundreds of them.

Its' one giant reason vloggers and friends Renetto and Kenrg started Vloggerheads in 2008, to have a place for the conversational vlogger. Now, Vloggerheads has over 20,000 videos and a fiercely loyal base of contributors and viewers.

There's still a place for the conversational vlogger on the Internet, even as YouTube has been taken over by shows and clips of either violence or silliness. The advertisers can and should weigh in here, as their money can help redirect this playing field toward the kind of simulating content produced by classic vloggers.

Maybe Oprah will contribute a vlog to Vloggerheads? She's certainly welcome to do so.

Stay tuned.

Deanna Santana Returns To Oakland To Become City Manager

Deanna Santana, who came to the City of Oakland in 1995 and worked in what was then called the City Manager's Office and is now called the City Administrator's Office under the Oakland / Jerry Brown version of the strong-mayor system, was unanimously approved as Oakland's new City Administrator, replacing Interim City Administrator P. Lamont Ewell.

Ms. Santana started in the City Manager's Office when Craig Kocian was held the title, then remained as Kocian left for Colorado, and gave way toward then-Interim City Manager / Economic Development Director Kofi Bonner. When Robert Bobb was hired as City Manager in 1997, and Bonner returned to his role as head of the Community and Economic Development Agency that year, Santana remained in the City Manager's Office, but had the primary assignment of the Police Department.

In 1999, Deanna left for San Jose and has remained at the City Manager's Office as Deputy City Manager for 12 years. Her most recent assignment that gained media attention was as San Jose's point-person for the 2010 Census, and as the main policy formation contact regarding medical marijuana, including the development of a tax collection structure and a ballot initiative called "Measure U."

It passed in November with 73 percent of the vote, and San Jose collected its first revenue from it, $291,000, in May.

That may very well be why the Oakland City Council approved Santana: her experience with medical marijuana policy - in addition to her past experience in Oakland.

But I digress.

Ms. Santana earned her B.A. from Cal (Berkeley) in 1992, and Master of City Planning from MIT in 1995.

How do I know all of this? I was Economic Adviser to Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris from 1995 to 1999, and we share 22 Linkedin connections in total (I have over 2,600 of them). Deanna and I never had reason to cross the same work paths, but she was known for driving a cool Acura, as I recall. Deanna was very quiet at work - got the job done.

But Deanna also was always "low profile," operating, as Mayor Elihu Harris would put in, "just below the radar," and not known for a desire to be in the public eye - so something had to change for her to come back to Oakland.

And I would speculate that in Oakland she saw the perfect place for an opportunity to advance and yet not really get out of what she perceives as a comfort zone. That's another way of saying she knows Oakland and its problems and can dive right in and get to work.

Deanna, who's social media platform has been largely thin - no website, twitter page, or other markings except her Linkedin and Facebook pages - will experience a massive shock to her online profile an hour after she's introduced to the press Wednesday at 10:30 am at Oakland City Hall, Hearing Room 4.

Green Lantern's Angela Bassett On Blacks in Comics

The legendary Angela Bassett, who plays Dr. Amanda Waller in the much-anticipated Green Lantern movie, starring Ryan Reynold's and Blake Lively, sat down to talk with Jamal Finkley, a YouTube Partner who's Blacktreemedia channel has really produced great video interviews with some of today's top talent.

In the interview, Ms. Bassett explains that she took the role in the sci-fi movie because "as an actress you always want to expand your roles," and not get stuck in one kind of movie genre.

Green Lantern was a brutal movie on her, and it's too bad Jamal didn't have more time to ask about the stunts in it. There's one particular scene that left this blogger wondering how they got her up there.

You have to see Green Lantern to understand what I am referring to. (Here's my review, below.)

Bassett really didn't talk about "blacks in comics" in this video, but it seems that we've only got one part of a longer conversation. My guess is that whatever she said was edited out.

Win A Green Lantern Ring

And while we're on the subject of Green Lantern, you can win your very own Green Lantern Ring. All you have to do is follow Warner Bros at @wbpictures on Twitter. Jamal has the info:

Stay tuned.

Jon Huntsman Called Weasel, Runs For President

The definition of "weasel," aside from reference to the mammal described as a "small, active predator," is of a person who is a "deceitful or treacherous person," and by action "Achieve something by use of cunning or deceit: 'trying to weasel my way into his affections.'"

From the looks of videos and accounts, former Utah Governor and former U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman has been called a weasel, and now that person's running for the Republican Presidential Nomination.

Typing "Jon Huntsman Weasel" in Google yields an interesting set of findings.

First, there's a YouTube video that gives the former Utah Governor the 30th "Weasel Award," because Robert Evan Howard, the Salt Lake City man who created the video and the award, blames Huntsman for "people being taxed out of their homes in Utah" while he was Governor.

The video is not new, but hasn't been seen much at all over the past three years: 72 times total, or about 24 times a year, or about once every other week. That's about to change:

The other interesting "Jon Huntsman Weasel" search result on Google is this one:

"Looks like a weasel to me. Just sayin'."

And comes as a comment after a Huffington Post blog article with the title "Jon Huntsman Praised By China Vice Premier." The article by Huff Po staff ads:

"A fluent Mandarin speaker from his time as a Mormon missionary, Huntsman has won praise from the administration for his work as ambassador. But White House aides have been less than enthused by his interest in exploring a Republican presidential bid next year."

Which caused this blogger to wonder what kind of, as they say on the street, shit, Huntsman was plotting against President Obama while "serving" as U.S. Ambassador to China.

Anyone who can speak "fluent Mandarin," serves the American President in China, then turns around and announces he's going to try and run against that same American President, and is praised by the Chinese on the way, certainly places his very character into question. Did Huntsman throw his own boss under the bus while serving as Ambassador in China?

Fair question.

And all that on top of the finding that the blog "Weasel Zippers" has several pages devoted to the "Republican In Name Only" (RINO), Jon Huntsman.

If President Obama can't trust Jon Huntsman, why should the American people be asked to trust Jon Huntsman? Huntsman might sell us out to China more so than we're already economically on the hook for.

Just saying.

Oh, in case you're wondering.  I searched for a photo of Former Governor Huntsman to put up here, when I typed "Jon Huntsman Weasel" in Google, but that cute little critter kept popping up. 

Stay tuned.