Weeks 7-8

A series of videos were supported and tweeted numerously by pro-life groups recently. The series of videos describing the different abortion procedures were brilliant.  The series was divided into two different sets of videos that flowed together seamlessly.  The first set described the procedures in layman terms and used a blend of presentation and graphics.  The presentation style set up the video well because it created immediate authority (the presenter was a specialist who had done thousands of abortions).  The presenter connected the video with people because there was a real person involved who spoke to the viewer (rather than some object that did not have a real person involved).  The second half of the video involved a graphics style that used narration to describe the events going on in the animated graphics.  The animation widened the audience as they were made in a way that everyone could understand, rather than a specifically educated audience.  The video is also eternal, there is no information that is time sensitive so the audience that can be reached is quite large.  The Why of the video is perhaps the most important, and this is the vision that is shared in the second set of videos in this series.  The videos are incredibly shocking.  This is because every shot tells the story (just as the book on how to make videos suggests), without any superfluous and thereby useless shots.  The narration fades away as a single graphic is used.  The imagery of this graphic is still so strong that I remember it now, it feels as if it were seared upon my brain and I know I’ll never forget it.  Each shot so expertly says what the narration is telling, yet not in a over-compensating way.  The shots simply animate the words and give the watcher the opportunity to watch them.  It is here that the “Why” of the video is fully expressed.  If this was simply a podcast or anything that did not combine the graphic with the description it would not have the same impact.  The utter horror of the animation and the narration is incredibly powerful in a way that could not be replicated with a simple article or picture.  The narrator and the graphics do not quibble with any words or nuances that would clog the information, instead it is told simply and truthfully.  The narrator’s voice is even strictly monotone– which helps with the serious nature of the topic.   The second half of the series shows off the “Why” in a clever way by directly connecting with their audience.  Each video shows an audience member watching the videos with animation and narration.  Each audience is then asked a series of questions and invited to discuss the topic, which creates a full 360 degree look at the issue.  

Weeks 5-6

As a genre Podcasts offer incredible breadth of subjects and information.  The podcast group, ready to stand, is focussed on the subject of abortion.  The podcast length is just enough to fully dive into a single topic and yet retain the audience with just 25 minutes.  Sound and effects wise the Podcast lacked many intro and transition sounds.  However, the narrator’s voice provides enough transition as he is very engaging and moves from subject to subject with ease.  The narrator’s ease regarding the topic and his opinions (it was an opinion based episode) created a very natural and simple flow.  The episode seemed more like a conversation with a very eloquent and passionate friend rather than a stifling melodramatic sermon.  However, while the conversational tone of the episode was very easy to listen to, it would have helped if the narrator had some how created more of a relationship between the listeners and himself (seeing as there wasn’t an interviewer).  Jokes or some small tidbit would have helped to tie the audience and narrator together.  While the simplicity of the episode, from sound effects to the narrative style, created a easy episode to listen to, the narrative itself was a bit lacking.  The arc of the narrative was very simple, especially as the narrator laid out the plan or outline of the episode at the beginning.  While some introduction and outlining is necessary for the flow of the episode, the episode felt a bit flat after the topics were introduced.  More interviews could have spiced up the episode and given a personal touch to the episodes plot.  While news stories were used in an attempt to bring in the personal narrative, they were not fully expressed enough.  If the narrator had included quotes by others it would have helped strengthen his argument by proving that other people believe the same way the narrator does.  The need for credibility is not filled through other points of view or by the introduction of the narrator.  Although it was a serial podcast, with many previous episodes, it would have been better if the narrator gave a reason why he is worth listening to.  There is no point in captivating your audience through any techniques if they are constantly wondering what qualifications you have.  In the end, the mistakes of the narrator were immensely outweighed by the successes he made.  And as is the case with many current medias, it is the end feeling that decides if the podcast get a second chance.

 

3-4 Weeks

Listening to a video (albeit here a podcast — the words are simply subtitles that float across the screen) pinned by Liveaction on Twitter I can hear some of rules/suggestions that Writing for Broadcast lists in Chapter 3.  In the conversations between two different speakers, the sentences are simple and to the point.  There is no confusing or irrelevant vocabulary — the speakers are there to tell a story and they don’t need to beat around the bush.  The video switches, quite often, between different times in the story line.  It could be confusing, however the speakers make sure to speak in the tense associated with the time and specific speakers are associated only with specific times in the story line.  A suggestion that this podcast pinned by Liveaction did not follow was using different word choice.  The repetition of the same words did get annoying after a while, yet it did make a point — those words are fully associated with that talk and it showed how their problem is in every state they discussed.

In a second video pinned by Liveaction, president of Liveaction (Lila Rose) gives a speech — basically a podcast with some movement (video shows her shoulders up).  Lila uses some very affective techniques to truly reach an audience.  She doesn’t confuse people with too many numbers that eventually lose the audience, instead she uses a single fact (number) to impress upon her audience the reality of the situation without losing their concentration.  It is difficult to capture an audience’s full attention (especially in this day of iphones), to combat this Lila repeats her message, albeit in different ways.  The final tool Lila uses is her excellent pronunciation and vocal intonation.  Lila does not trip over any words — her speech flows without a single stumble.  The impact of this speech would be very little if a different caliber of speaker was giving it.  Yet, Lila’s use of vocal intonation imparts her message in a reasonable but passionate manner.  She does not use any language or vocal force that creates two sides of an argument, instead she throws away sides and creates a single view that includes everybody.  While Lila utilizes language by repeating “we and us”, she also uses her voice to show that there really only is a “we and us” — there is no vehemence in her speech or sanctimonious inflection in her intonation.  The video implements many different broadcasting techniques as it was played across video platforms, and possibly radio platforms.

Weeks 1-2

The argument surrounding life in the womb is currently waged across the internet via thumbs furiously typing out requests and demands for the “right” side.  In a war that requires short tweets and signs during marches, both sides have developed a stratagem of appealing to voters succinctly.  On Twitter, both sides display their positions and debate with as many rebuttals as desired.  Planned Parenthood (the anti-life position) has excelled on social media, running many successful campaigns and trade-marking the color pink (although it is shared with breast cancer awareness programs).  One stance Planned Parenthood has used to undermine opponents is that the pro-lifers don’t really care about women, they just want to control women into doing what they believe is “right”.  An adept tactic, yet one the pro-lifers have seized as one to refute; Lila Rose, head of the leading pro-life organization Live Action, has attempted to show her love not just for babies but for women as well in her social media profile: the header includes the slogan: “Love them both”.  This small acquiescence by Ms. Rose not only strengthens her cause but also embodies part of Corder’s argument: “Argument is emergence towards the other” (Corder, 26).   

 

Strategies and tactics are being implemented in an interesting manner on the most recent debate involving Live Action and Twitter itself.  Live Action has been refused the ability to buy ads on Twitter according to Twitter’s Hate and Sensitive Topic Policy, even though Planned Parenthood is allowed to buy ads.  If a strategy is, according to deCertau, “…the calculation of power relationships that becomes possible as soon as a subject with will and power (a business, an army, a city, a scientific institution) can be isolated” (deCertau, 36), then Live Action has lost its power on Twitter and therefore its ultimate strategy is futile.  Therefore, Live Action has had to resort to tactics, “…an art of the weak…” by striking back at Twitter in order to gain the new audience it had hoped to reach through the ads (strategic plan) that were thwarted by Twitter (deCertau, 37).  Live Action’s tactics have ranged from interviews on major cable news (Fox with Tucker Carlson), to posting and trending on, ironically, Twitter.  Tweets by Live Action attempt to get the news out into the open by displaying the issue succinctly through photos and links to full articles that show the entire conversation between Twitter and Live Action.  Of course, as soon as the whole conversation was brought to Twitter and the internet, many Twitter users used their own tweets to accuse and rebuke Twitter.  The rebukes varied from personal objections, to Legal arguments involving the first amendment, to displaying photos of Twitter’s own Mom-centric ads.  By thwarting Live Action (for over a year), Twitter was able to strip power away from the pro-life group and therefore deprive Live Action of a strategic plan.  However, by dismantling Live Action’s strategy, Twitter enhanced Live Action’s tactical situation.