If YouTube is to video what Kleenex is to tissue, think before you blow too hard.

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The number of adults posting online video has doubled in the last four years and 78 percent download or watch video online today. In fact, online video is becoming so popular, many experts say YouTube is to video what Kleenex is tissue. So, health organizations need to hit multi-media sharing right on the nose, or they risk turning the Kleenex of online video into just another generic hankie—relegated to your local market’s bottom row with the other one-ply, no-name bandannas. Or, worse yet, the video is blown full of contents best left to the imagination with no discernible meaning. (Hey! For the record, I wasn’t one of those experts that compared YouTube and Kleenex. So, please, don’t thank me. Thank the experts.)

First, setting the right goal and focus is the most critical step. Think about the problem you are trying to solve or the aim you want to achieve. Remember when you were a child and your mom wouldn’t let you blow your nose into the tissue until her left hand was firmly behind your head with the right hand and Kleenex perfectly positioned over your face? Well, that’s how precise health organizations need to be with their goals in population health. You might start with the goal of wanting better health. Then, narrow down to reducing obesity. Then, narrow that to increasing physical activity. Then, narrow that to a specific type of activity. Be clear.

Next, be creative and unexpected. Allow yourself to get out of your comfort zone or allow yourself NOT to over think what people may perceive. Remember, one of the key drivers of the increases in watching and downloading online video is humor. People want to laugh. More than that, they laugh even more when you’re able to turn something negative into something funny. The most recent, perfect example of this is Jimmy Kimmel’s “Mean Tweets.” Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imW392e6XR0.

Finally, not only is “Mean Tweets” extremely funny and creative, it is the epitome of integration of online video and other social media. The skit literally turns tweets into video. Typically, when we talk of integration between video, imagery and social media, we refer to using each as venues to access or share with the other—basically allowing accounts from different media to be interoperable. So, it is pivotal to use social media like Twitter and Facebook to highlight your latest video.

Be creative. Be visually interesting. Re-launch old concepts in new and fun ways. Be brief. People have only so much time in a day. You could be giving them the three minutes of laughter or health messages they need in between work, soccer practice, dinner and then a piano recital. Your online video and social media strategy could provide them that trusted, aloe-infused, cool touch, ultra soft relief during flu season, as well as keep them healthy throughout the year.

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One thought on “If YouTube is to video what Kleenex is to tissue, think before you blow too hard.

  1. Love your Jimmy Kimmel reference and your discussion about “mean tweets”. I think these are great examples as to why social media and SMS messaging has propelled many issues and how it can be effective in public health.

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