An Open Letter
The Real News Network
Re: Web Design, Web Optimization, Web Page Coding
TRNN Blog Squad
Firstly, from a meeting of TRNN Ambassadors - in Toronto, 2010, I understand that your strategy is to drive eyes to the main site - www.therealnews.com - I question whether this should be a focus for a non-profit - when your content and a link to Donate page can be posted anywhere on the net. But I do understand the value of the main site in presenting all the content in one place, and creating the TRNN brand --- I think it is AS important as networking TRNN content - but not MORE so.
A TRNN story has yet to 'go viral' - I think this is a function of ineffective networking. I believe TRNN content is spread mainly though the Social Tools, via *links* in micro-blogging applications like Twitter; and link posts in democratic, social news forums like Reddit and Digg; and *embeds* in blogs like Blogger and WordPress, and in social networking platforms like Facebook and Google+ .
TRNN needs to optimize it's content pages to help "Blog Squad" members spread TRNN content with these tools.
Whether you think that driving eyes to the web site is paramount - or if you see my point about spreading your content as far and as wide as possible - some small changes I propose below will make both meme work better.
Please help the Blog Squad do their work, with these easy coding changes at therealnews.com and at your Youtube Channel, "TheRealNews":
Every time someone watches TRNN content they have the opportunity to donate via your well placed Donate Buttons. The more people who see TRNN stories, the greater the number of people who are likely to donate. Therefor spreading TRNN stories as widely as possible is key to the health of the network. I believe that TRNN stories are spread through the internet via people embedding or linking TRNN video in the social tools.
The Youtube user interface is the standard for linking video in the social tools.
Democracy Now! has the metric inside Youtube correct, I think.
Under each story that "Democracy Now!" posts in Youtube - in the video's description area (which allows live links) - they add a brief description of the item, and the following 'set copy' - and all the links they can think of to their web presence:
To watch the entire weekday independent news hour, read the transcript, download the podcast, search our vast archive, or to find more information about Democracy Now! and Amy Goodman, visit http://www.democracynow.org.
Democracy Now!, an independent global news hour that airs weekdays on 1,100+ TV and radio stations Monday through Friday.
FOLLOW DEMOCRACY NOW! ONLINE:
Subscribe on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/democracynow
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Please consider supporting independent media by making a donation to Democracy Now! today, visit http://www.democracynow.org/donate/YT
At www.therealnews.com portal - some suggestions as well:
The 'Embed this Video' link under each video at therealnews.com should open the link in new tab or window, or in a pop-up (some way that leaves the content window open). As it is now, clicking on the embed button closes the content window. When a TRNN 'Blog Squad' team member is Crafting their embed, they need the story page open (in order to cut and paste content from the transcript (to create accurate, correctly spelled copy; correct spelling of names and organizations - to ensure proper placement in Search); link the URL at therealnews.com; grab the handy description of TRNN that you have at "About" tab (this description should be under each video wherever you post content).
The embed widget at therealnews.com, is clunky and unprofessional looking. Adding a "width" and "height" attribute to the coding for the "Embed Video" "grab this code" Form, would make the page look a lot better (now it's set to the W3C default, form setting).