YouTube Interview with Steve Cliff: Part 1 - Tips for Community Tagging Projects

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I did a post about the Steve Cliff and the VotersVoices Project and it reminded be that for over a year I've been attempting to do multimedia conversation and I have only been able to talk to myself!

So, I posted a video as a response to Steve's introductory video, asking him for some tips for a successful community tagging project.  Here is his response.

Here's a text transcript of the answers:

Hey there Beth. I was excited to get your video question.  Almost as excited as I was when I got the call from YouTube founders about a $1million grant!

Interrupted by a call from his wife.  Steve’s buying an Ipod Shuffle!

Actually, we didn’t get a million dollar grant.  We’re out there in the wilderness doing our grassroots thing, using tools like Flickr,, YouTube, etc.

I have six tips on how to start a community tagging project:

1 Pick a compelling theme

Don’t make it so narrow and obscure that only one or two people are interested in the topic. 

2. Connect with natural behavior

There are people who are already bookmarking particular resources.  Seek out those people first.   Don’t make tagging extra work or add on.  Find the people who are already tagging information in your topic area and work with them.

3. Pick your tags carefully

We had a problem with mno06 as tag, because it brought up all the YouTube users with mn in their name.   If you use a tag that has a date in it, like mno06 – it becomes dead.  We became more generic and used mnpolitics.

4. Display the results

Make sure people can see the results of what they are doing.   Our aggregation page allows people to see what we’ve collected.

5.Go beyond your known community

You are going to go to those already tagging or doing videos in your content as a first step..  Use the contact and social networking tools built into the tools to find them and connect with them.  Ask them to add your tag to the items they are already connecting.  That’s how we seeded our project.  For example, we found someone who was tagging photos of election themes.

There are people now beginning to contact us and are interested.  There are people creating new flickr accounts to join our efforts and we're teaching them how to tag.   Then shift to the new people who aren’t tagging or creating video.

6.  Tools, particularly video, need to be become easier

The biggest challenge is that I have to record in video and then upload.  YouTube needs a flashbased video recorder built into the interface.  It has to be one click and easy to do it.  Also, with flickr, people need to realize that they you need more than 5 photos to be live.  Also, YouTube has a delay.

I posted a video with a follow up question and Steve says he will answer it next week.  So, stay tuned!