Today concludes the two week time line for the experiment in Methodist social media exposure. There were 759 views of the YouTube video promoting Reclaiming the Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today There were 44 hits to the video when I discovered it and posted it on the Methodist blogosphere. At the end of the first week there were 619 views. This means that the momentum slowed down significantly after the first week as there were 140 views in the second week. (On the other hand, that is still more than three times as many views as the video had in its first six months of existence.)
Blake Huggins was surprised at how well the experiment was going in a comment he left on my post about the experiment at one week. Henry Neufeld, on the other hand, was disappointed with the results.
I am not exactly sure what to make of the results. I think the experimented would have been more successful if the video that was circulated had not been promoting a book generally, and promoting a book I co-authored more particularly. I noticed comments on several blogs that expressed that they were disappointed to find at the end of the video that it was just promoting another book. (Though I was also surprised that so many people seemed to feel that United Methodists have so much information out there about their books. I have tended to feel the other way, that not very many people know about United Methodist publications outside of a very committed group.) I was also a bit disappointed that the views of the video decreased so rapidly in the second week.
On the other hand, I was surprised that more than 25 bloggers linked to the video in some way on their blog. And I do think it is significant that simply passing on a video was able to revive a video that was basically dead on YouTube. A change from 44 views in 6 months to 715 views in 2 weeks is a significant change. I think that this experiment does show that there exists a significant group of Methodists who are willing to work together in some capacity to raise awareness and get the word out. The big question is: Get the word out about what? Over the last few weeks I have found myself dreaming about the ways that the blogosphere could be used as a resource for helping to better get the Wesleyan message out there – not just to other Methodists, but more deeply into the emerging church and other places where meaningful conversations are happening about what it means to be a Christian, how to live faithfully, the meaning of life, etc.
As I indicated in the original post about this experiment, I will write a letter to the folks at Discipleship Resources and the General Board of Discipleship letting them know about the experiment and encouraging them to think about ways to use the internet as a means of communication and ways to work with Methodists who already have a presence and audience on the web. I will pass on any response that is appropriate to publicly communicate.
In the meantime, what are your thoughts about the experiment? Do you see anything more than this can point to or lead to?
like i mentioned to you earlier kevin. the next step would be to spread it around through people’s email lists. email is going to tap more of the mainstream folks versus the early adopts of the blog world.
some numbers can be low because we share information amongst ourselves. i had already seen the video so i wasn’t going to watch 25 times because 25 of my friends posted it. i also am not sure if the embed watching shows up in the views on youtube or that is just a ‘hit’ to that page. that would also keep numbers rather low as most folks embedded the video. i know i did that.
certainly the video didn’t go viral, but i don’t know if it has elements to that seem to be ingrained in a viral video. something that is familiar, humorous or heart tugging. the old gene cotton claymation clay ride history of methodism got a lot of traffic, until umcom told me to take it down, as people had some kindred tie to it. it was a good video, but for many it was more nostalgic to the soul. who knows how well that video would be doing now. i have some news story on the patriot guard, and westboro baptist, that seems to get a comment or two and a hundred or so views a day.
though the experiment didn’t go viral that isn’t the measure. the measure is that it is talked about and people are more aware of ‘reclaiming wesleyan tradition’ now. which, they might not have been before.
Thanks for the results — it’s kind of interesting to see the count slacking off in the second week. I think that and the nearly moribund status of the video prior to your experiment stem from the fact that it’s kind of lame. I’m not referring to your book, which I haven’t read yet but would expect good things out of, judging by what I read here on “Deeply Committed.” But the video itself isn’t all that funny or interesting, and I don’t know that I would have forwarded any kind of notice about it to anyone had I just run across it on my own.
The same would go from just about any of our agency products or marketing offerings — if what they want me to buzz or talk about isn’t any good, then I’m probably going to pass (i.e., anything with our dorky, verb-less, talk-about-us-but-don’t-mention-God “Open Hearts etc.” slogan in it). But best of luck to you in conversation with them and I’ll cross my fingers they’ll change 😉
The decline way simply be the movement of the link to older posts. I’ve been posting once a day or so since the new years, so that would have put my post on the vid off the front page two days ago (not that a lot of people read my crap). Anless the vid is posted as the first post every day, the exposure would decrease rapidly even on pages with lots of hits.
Kevin Watson said:
Gavin – Thanks for your thoughts. I am particularly interested in the mechanics of YouTube videos getting views… you are right in that there would have been a real difference in results if the views were not going up because they were viewed on the imbedded video. I appreciate your thoughts and perspective.
Brett – It has been interesting to notice the different reactions people had to the video. Some people have really liked it and others didn’t like it at all…. Anyway, thanks for posting it on your blog.
Kurt – Interesting thought on the decrease in views as related to the post moving to the bottom of the page. In some ways that may have actually given a more accurate description of how many people viewed the video… in other words the numbers may not have been inflated by people watching it over and over just to make the numbers go up.
Thanks for all of your thoughts,
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