The Short Film List – Distraxion, Signs, Black Holes & Kiwis

Short Film - Distraxion, The Black Hole, Kiwi

Short Videos & Short Films

All the recent posts have been about heavy topics, so here is a breather both for the artists out there as well as the casual video viewer. I’ve put together links to a few well made (and of course Clean Cut) short videos & short films. I’ve only included ones you may have not seen. So no pixar shorts!

Short videos are very difficult to create because the producer needs to sum up a quick story within a very short time frame usually around 1:30-2 minutes. Short films can range anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes. To develop a story, create the right mood and have character development in such a short period takes much planning and creativity. Below are some of the excellent short films & videos I’ve ran across in the past.

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Social Media Statistics Video – Growth & Impact

Social Media Statistics Viral Video

One of the benefits (and detriments) of YouTube has been the proliferation of information. More than ever, it is easy to transmit and share information through a variety of mediums. In fact Social Networking has long surpassed email as the most popular medium of online communication.

One the more popular video genres on YouTube are the what I call the statistical videos. The “Did You Know” videos went viral as the eye popping statistics are always fun to share and read about. Though be aware that some of the newer videos are spoofs and contain fake data (though to their credit they acknowledge it in the end).

Socialnomics Videos – Is Social Media a Fad?

The video below is a similar statistical video covering the growth and impact of social media. It asks the question, is social media a fad? This message probably targets business and companies that often debate whether allocating money to social media is worth the costs. Then it follows by bombarding you with the incredible growth and impact of social media on our every day lives. I’ve also compiled some social media statistics from other sources below.

Sorry – The video was made “private” due to copyright issues socialnomics is having. But please do check out the LATEST socialnomics video here!

What is Social Media?

To be clear, Social Media isn’t just Facebook and Twitter. It includes a whole network of sites where users can interact with one another whether it is by sharing information or discussing various topics. Some of the more popular social media sites that you may not at first consider to be part of this group are sites like Digg (Share Links & News), Stumbleupon (Share & Discover Websites), Delicious (Share Favorites), Wikipedia (Share Information), Flickr (Share Pictures), Blogging (Share Anything), YouTube (Share Videos), Linkedin (Professional Social Network) and so on. As you can imagine, social media has grown tremendously and has changed the landscape of information exchange and communication.

Social Media List - Facebook, Social Networks

More Social Media Statistics

  • 3 out of 4 Americans use social technology
    (Forrester, The Growth of Social Technology Adoption, 2008)
  • 2/3rd of Global Internet Population Visit Social Networks
    (Nielsen, Global Faces & Networked Places, 2009)
  • Social Sites – 4th most popular online activity, ahead of personal email
    (Nielsen, Global Faces & Networked Places, 2009)
  • Time Spent on Social Networks growing at 3x overall internet rate.
  • Accounts for 10% of all Internet Time (Nielsen, Global Faces & Networked Places, 2009)

“Technology is shifting the power away from the editors, the publishers, the establishment, the media elite. Now it’s people who are in control” Rubert Murdock, Global Media Entrepreneur”

  • 13 Hours of video uploaded on YouTube every minute
  • 412.3 years – length of time it would take to view every YouTube video
  • 100,000,000 – # of YouTube videos viewed per day
  • 13,000,000 – # of articles on Wikipedia
  • 3,600,000 – # of photos archived on as of June 2009
  • 1382% – Monthly Growth Rate of Twitter Jan to Feb 2009
  • 3,000,000 Tweets per Day on Twitter
  • 5,000,000,000 – # of minutes spent on Facebook every day
  • 1,000,000,000 – # of content (web links, news, blogs post, photos etc) share on Facebook each week

“The word blog is irrelevant. What’s important is that it is now common, and will soon be expected, that every intelligent person (and quite a few unintelligent ones) will have a media platform where they share what they care about with the world.” Seth Godin, Author

  • 5,000,000 – # of active Barack Obama supporters across 15 social networks
  • 14,200,000 – # of views Obama’s “Yes we can video” got on YouTube
  • $6,500,000 – Amount of money donated online to Obama’s campaign
  • Facebook in terms of members would be the 8th most populated county in the world. (Mark Zuckerberg, Jan 2009)
  • By July 2009, it has risen to 4th (via video)

Hope you enjoy the social media statistics video! Please share your thoughts below.
[poll id=”13″]

  • What is your reaction to the rise of social media?
  • How much do you use Facebook, Myspace, Twitter? Do you Blog?
  • Do you find it helpful?
  • Do you feel Social Media is a fad or it is here to stay?
  • Where do you see Social Media Going?
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Famous Manipulated Photos – Pre Photoshop

Did you know the images you see in magazines are touched up and photoshopped to be pleasing to the eye?

Manipulation of Images in Media

I am sure you all said yes. Everything we see today has been digitally enhanced. Every face we see is not only cleaned up, but necks are trimmed, the chins are tucked, and eyes are enlarged. Every blemish from the skin is erased, hair is made more glimmery, all this on top of picking the prettiest of models (see Dove Video). It is no wonder media has such a negative influence on the way children perceive themselves and their own self-image.

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Late Night Internet Statistics: Online Videos, Games & Chat

Internet Usage Peaks at 11PM EST for US Web Users

Internet Use Traffic Online Europe vs US

Arbor Networks recently released a large scale study on internet usage utilizing the data from 110 geographically diverse Internet service providers and tens of millions of subscribers. One of the more fascinating points of this study is when internet usage peaks for US internet users.

There was once a point where Internet usage peaked at 8AM in the morning when most US visitors get into work. However this new study showed that Internet usage now peaks at 11PM Eastern time and stays high until 3AM in the morning. This is unique to the United States as Europe was found to peak around 7PM then drop sharply for the rest of the night. Other than a slight dip during dinner hours, US users continue to use the Internet at a high rate during the late hours of the day.

Arbor Internet Use Traffic Online US Graph

North American Website Usage

This graph on the right displays the traffic cycle of North American internet users. The blue line marks internet usage through the day showing the most usage in the late afternoon, a slight drip during dinner and a significant spike at 11PM in the evening. The yellow segment is cable / dsl traffic which signifies consumer usage and attempts to exclude business traffic. The graph clearly shows that consumers play a huge role in the late night peak.

What are They Doing Online so Late!

Arbor Internet Use Traffic Online Graph

  • Online Gaming – Grows 60% after 2PM. Spikes between 8PM-11PM.
  • Team Gaming – The social nature of gaming contributes to the sudden spikes and drops as seen in the World of Worldcraft usage. A team or a “guild” of players will schedule a time to play together thus causing massive spikes and drops in the usage data.
  • Online Video Watching – Peaks at Midnight.
  • Instant Messaging – IM usage is constant throughout the day while reaching 80% of peak at 10AM and maintaining that rate until midnight.

The study showed that the rise in usage was not necessarily due to higher number of users surfing the web. In fact Arbor’s analysis suggested that web surfing was constant throughout the day. The data revealed that video watching and online gaming contributed greatly to the late night peak. Though instant messaging and video watching is done throughout the day, video watching starts to rise in the evenings while online gaming jumps as soon as work is over. It skyrockets right after dinner time, peaks around 11PM and carries for the next few hours. We do have to consider the three hour difference between the east and west coasts to account for usage from 12PM to 3AM.

When do you use the internet the most? [Non-Business Use]

[poll id=”12″]

  • When do you find yourself using the Internet the most?
  • What do you think is contributing to the late night spike?
  • Do you find these trends surprising or not surprising?

Please comment below!

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Video Gamers at Risk for Health Problems

Boy Staring - Video GamesThe Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) came out with a study this week that suggests that gaming habits developed as a youth carries with them into adulthood. Specifically those who played video games as a child or a teenager have a trend to become inactive and have more health issues.

The study included 552 adults between 19 and 90 in the Washington State area. Gaming once was considered a children centric activity but in this study, 50% of gamers were found to be within the 18 to 49 age while 25% were 50 and older. Those in the younger age between 8 to 34 showed many signs of addiction.

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Protect our Bubble Babies with Our Stuff

Get your saline-soaked, aloe-treated, grape-scented tissues for your child! It’ll make blowing your child’s nose safe and fun! Don’t let him feel discomfort. Be a good parent.

In the Kiddie-Safety Industrial Complex, parents are gobbling up hitherto unheard-of stuff like those Boogie Wipes tissues, toy wagons with seat belts, sure-grip gloves for lifting baby out of the bath, and even knee pads for babies to wear when they start to crawl over that crushed glass you chose instead of carpeting for the nursery.

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Teens Don’t Use Twitter, What the Tweet?

Twitter Logo

Twitter. A Trendy Social Media Site for Kids? No?

Most people I speak to think social network sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter are new, trendy and hip, but that does not mean it is popular among the youth.

In a study of 250,000 US internet users, Nielsen has released statistics showing that though 25% of internet users are under the age of 25, only 16% of twitter users in the same range.

Twitter Website Growth Age Demographic

Who is the cause of Growth on Twitter?

The 18-24 year old demographic who are normally the early adopters of social networks were the least likely to visit Twitter while the 45-54 year olds were the most likely, followed closely by the 25-34 year old age group.

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How Politicians, Media & Advertising Influence our Minds

Media Influence on Public PerceptionMedia doesn’t affect me that much

If you think media does not influence you all that much, you got another thing coming. There is a reason corporations spend billions of dollars on advertising. It works. It influences our behaviors, our values, and plays to our emotions. How many things have we bought that we thought would make us happy only to have the happiness wear off after a couple weeks? What made us think it would make us happy in the first place?

Psychology Studies of Human Behavior with Authority

Anyone familiar with the history of psychology will remember the Stanford Prison Experiment by Phil Zimbarbo. This study placed subjects as either a prison guard or a prisoner. The study was stopped only 6 days into the experiment because the guards were getting extremely abusive while the prisoners were experiencing real distress and trauma. Those in the role of the prison guards became lost in their given authority while the prisoners became increasingly submissive and started to follow orders without questions. What this study shows us is that the power of “authority” has a deep impact on our behavior and our ability to make wise choices.

Another principle in psychology is “social proof”. This is where individuals look for guidance in their decisions by looking at others, especially those who we see as an authority on the subject. There has been many studies were the most dominate personality would have the most impact simply because they seemed to have knowledge and authority whether they actually did or not.

Relying on Authority Figures for Blind Guidance

For these very reasons, both in politics and in general advertising, groups seek out leaders or celebrities who can speak with authority on their behalf. Sometimes very little fact or evidence is given, but the mere fact that someone with authority speaks has enough of an impact on the general public. I didn’t care about Global Warming until Al Gore said to care. I just assume Jordan shoes are better because they are Jordans. Masses feel reassured the economic bailout would help when our leaders endorse it wholeheartedly.

Speaking of our current economic crisis – let’s face it, most of us know very little about the inner workings of the economy and what has actually caused many of our current problems. We might have very strong opinions about it, but most of our opinions were influenced by what we have read from the media or something we heard from some financial analyst. We soak up and are persuaded by the blame thrown around in media. We know very little about how the economic bailouts would actually help, but our decision to support or go against it, is simply dependent on a few quotes from authority figures and politicians. The politicians tell the media to blame the CEOs and we say go after them! Even if the problem may have stemmed from the politicians themselves and their ineffective policies.

Be Aware of Media’s Influence on Public Perception

Our lack of knowledge and facts forces us to defer to authority figures and whatever we are fed by the media. Politicians and advertisers are experts in this game. Just look at the presidential elections, there is so much lying, truth twisting, feel good advertising, and baseless personal attacks just to influence public perception that groups are formed just dedicated to checking out the facts, yet even then the damage is done. Doesn’t matter if the attack was a lie, they’ve already painted the perception.

It is important that the public become more aware of how easily we are persuaded by what we hear in the media. Whether it be some politician waxing eloquence over some policy or bill we know very little about, or some value or lifestyle depicted as fun or normal through a TV show- it is imperative we are able to look at the facts objectively so we can make sound, wise choices. Remember that the media is manipulated all the time to gain favor of the public!

  • Do you agree or disagree that the public is heavily influenced by the media in their perception of just about everything?
  • Can you think of more examples where we give too much authority to what we simply hear from media or from perceived authority figures?

Related Post:
Perception of Financial Crisis – Who is to Blame?

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Ever Fading Sensitivity to Violence in Media

Schindlers List Movie LogoWu Fei (吴非), is a school teacher who often contributes to several different newspapers and textbooks. She maintains a blog that covers issues in contemporary education. Utilizing the movie Schindler’s List she wrote a post discussing the need to be careful in the way we expose children to the tragedies of human history and the evil of humanity. She believes there needs to be an emphasis on kindness and understanding or these cruelties can be taken the wrong way.

Personally, I really like the post, because it indirectly brings up the issue of our ever fading sensitivity to what we should be viewing with disgust and shame. That is media’s influence at it’s best.

I’ve pasted the entire translation below.
Credit to Danwei for the translation.

Unendurable Brutality

by Wu Fei

The script to Schindler’s List has been selected for inclusion in a middle school textbook.* From the standpoint of both language arts and humanities education, this is a necessary step forward. Secondary education should make students aware that the history of human civilization contains such instances of violence against civilization and humanity.

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Michael Jackson’s Death causes Social Media Explosion

Michael Jackson Death RIPAs everyone by now knows, Michael Jackson, one of the greatest pop icons in history died at the age of 50 due to undetermined causes. He was found unconscious by Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s personal doctor. Autopsies are underway to determine what may have caused this tragedy. The news so far from the coroner’s office is that there were no signs of foul play.

What followed was a wave of online attention never seen before. The spike in traffic was so abnormal that Google thought they were being attacked by a virus or spyware application. When people searched Google News for “Michael Jackson” they would receive an “we’re sorry” error page.

Some other social media statistics related to Michael Jackson’s Death:

  • Web Usage: Jumped to 4.2 million global visitors per MINUTE. Normal is around 2 million.
  • Web Search: More than 50% of top 100 searches were related to Michael Jackson
  • Mobile Search: Saw the largest spike ever with 5 of 20 searches being about Michael Jackson
  • Yahoo: Single day record of 16.4 million visitors
  • CNN: Significantly slowed as they saw 20 million page views and saw traffic jump 5x normal levels within the first hour after the news broke.
  • AIM: Went down for 40 minutes
  • iTunes: 8 of the top 10 selling albums for download were from Michael Jackson, 8 of the top 10 music videos were also Michael Jackson related. 5 of the top 10 songs.
  • Amazon: 10 of the top 25 albums for download were Michael Jackson.
  • Amazon: For all CD sales, Jackson held 17 of the top 20 spots including all top 10 slots.
  • Youtube: “Thriller Video” currently has 43.5 million views and 185,000 comments.
  • Youtube: Fans are uploading videos in droves in memory of Michael Jackson
  • Twitter: 5,000 tweets per minute
  • Twitter: 23% of all tweets dedicated to the star.
  • Twitter: 9 out of 10 popular topics were about Michael Jackson.
  • Twitter: Celebrities expresses sorrows while followed by millions on Twitter.
  • Facebook: Groups formed to organize vigils and celebration of Jackson
  • Domains: Nearly 4,000 domain names related to Michael Jackson registered on Go Daddy within the first day
  • Rumors: In conjuction with this news was a flurry of activity with rumors of Jeff Goldblum’s death. This was later shown to be unfounded.

Michael Jackson Death RIP Facebook

AOL called it a “seminal moment in Internet History… we’ve never seen anything like it”.

Every major news station highlighted Michael Jackson’s Death with large images with multiple articles covering his history, his glorious career, his troubled past, suspicions about his death, about his family, his wealth, and more. It was the fastest and largest wave of information over one news in such a short period of time. The internet as a whole was “slow” as all the major news stations and websites were slowed by the sudden surge in traffic.

I appreciate Michael Jackson’s talents, his singing ability, his dancing ability, it all was fantastic and worth admiring for what it was. However the question I want to pose is…

What does this incredible level of attention towards a pop icon tell us about the culture we live in?

If a war broke out between two small countries, it wouldn’t attract this level of attention. Millions of starving children? Most people wouldn’t read that article, too depressing. How about the continual sex trafficking occurring all around the world? Most people are not even aware of it.

I don’t blame the news outlets, since honestly most of the articles written are just fillers about random things as journalist are trying to find something they could write about. News like this is a goldmine. However they definitely help feed the fire. See some headlines below.

  • Unravelling Michael Jackson’s Finances – Newsweek
  • Michael Jackson dead at 50: Did drugs kill the King of Pop? – Telegraph
  • 6 Random Michael Jackson Pop-culture moments – NYmag
  • The History of Michael Jackson’s Face – Anomalies Unlimited
  • Michael Jackson and the Jewish Nose – Jewish Telgraphic Agency
  • Jackson’s art trumps questionable behavior – StatesmanJournal
  • Michael Jackson’s Ex-Nanny Reveals his Drug Habits – Celebuzz

I don’t need to read about the history of Michael Jackson’s face thank you. Every angle you can think of, they wrote it. But the world has never seen this kind of explosion in interest and activity over anything in such a short period of time.

Another Question:
How does one reconcile with the thought that Michael Jackson has a long history of being accused of molesting boys… yet is celebrated and admired on a level very few ever will achieve?

First of all let’s be clear, the question says “accused” not “convicted’. Michael Jackson was found not guilty of the accusations brought before him, though he still continued to allow boys to sleep in the same bed as he did. Yet with the plastic surgeries and the bleaching of skin, Michael Jackson’s was labeled “weird” and “perverse” and his reputation took a huge hit which he never recovered from. By the way Michael Jackson had a skin conditions that would create white blotches on his skin, thus the bleaching of his skin. In case you did not know.

This question is far broader than Michael Jackson. It is a question of how in many circumstances, a celebrity (or any person for that matter) could do the worst of things, yet it is often overshadowed or overlooked simply because of what they are able to accomplish. There are so many actors, singers, sports players who are involved in all sorts of scandals and shown to have very little morals or virtue, yet all it takes is another awesome acting performance, or the memory of some incredible song we all have grown fond of, to simply push all the “bad” aside. Is that right? What does that tell us about our culture and what does that teach our children? Just a thought.

“Michael Jackson proves, in a really sort of perverse way, that maybe we’re not as offended by behavior as we are entranced by music. And think about that. Think about what level of quality you must have to attain to have somebody say, “I know that you’re accused of having molested children, but I can’t hate you for that as much as I love you for your music.”

“There’s just one Michael Jackson now. We don’t have to reconcile the Michael Jackson we love with another Michael Jackson. In a way, he has returned to pristine condition in death. We can be free now for the rest of our lives to love the Michael Jackson we used to love.”
– John Mayer

  • Do you agree with this statement?
  • Does the fact that he contributed greatly to society both in his music and the blurrying of racial lines in music, “cover over” the fact he has been accused of perverse conduct? Does a right cover a wrong?
  • Does the world’s immense reaction to his death tell us anything about our culture focus and values?

Again, just a thought. What do you think?

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Vampire Influence on Teenager Self Identity

Twilight Vampire Teenager InfluenceTwilight by Stephanie Meyers?
Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber?
Blue Bloods by Melissa de La Cruz?

Heard of these titles? These are just an example of the rise of the vampire genre in recent literature and film. Popular among the youth, these books presents unique young characters catering to different types of teenagers. Unlike traditional vampire stories where vampires are blood-sucking epitome of evil, these new modern vampires are young teenagers discovering their self-identity and going through all the awkwardness and problems of a typical teenager boy or girl. Oh, plus dealing with immortality and dealing with inter species relationships. Of course.

As teenagers go through physical and emotional changes, they have to deal with new feelings and desires they have never felt before. They are often confused, full of anxiety, constantly focused on how they measure to those around them and always self-conscious as they try to form their own sense of self-identity. Unfortunately, outside of family influence, most of their identity gets formed through the peer pressures of school and the unrelenting media. The media fills their minds with images of what is cool, what is normal, and what is not. It helps mold their self-perception as they compare themselves with what they see on screen or read in books because that is what they perceive reality to be.

Each of these vampire stories cater to a different type of teenager. Twilight is catered to a wider audience and all awkward teenage girls and boys. Vampire Kisses is focused on the insecure teenager discovering herself. Blue Bloods cater to the fashion, shopping type. Regardless, the issues of peer pressure, discovering love, the anxieties of adolescent life is something the youth are drawn towards.

If you are interested in a small summary of each of these series and info on the main teenage character check out this article on vampire influences on self identification.

  • Have you read any of these books?
  • What is your take on the teenager characters?
  • Are they good examples or bad examples?
  • How do you think it is influencing the teenagers of today?
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Craigslist “Erotic Services” vs Henry McMaster

Craigslist Threatened by Attorney General for Erotic Services

  • Craigslist vs McMasterAre you aware that Craigslist were making headlines among the internet sphere for their battle against South Carolina’s Attorney General for the controversial “erotic services” column.
  • Were you aware Craigslist even had such a category?

Craigslist has become an household name as the place to go to find jobs, to buy and sell items anything from a used DVD to cars to houses. The service boasts 40 million classified ads posted every month. Amidst all the different categories and millions of posting, what often goes unnoticed is the “erotic services” section that is unfortunately accessible to anyone. Adults, Children- anyone can access these classified section.

The Attorney Generals of several states demanded that Craigslist shut down this service as it promotes prostitution. Craigslist chose to implement changes in response to their concerns. It adopted screening measures that were recommended and removed the “erotic service” category… kinda.

Craigslist is Protected under Federal Law Section 230

To Craigslist credit, they did this despite technically being protected under federal law for content posted by users. Section 230 CDA protects free speech online and it is often used to protect sites like Youtube from being completely shut down to do user videos that violate copyright law. If a prostitute advertises illegal services and carries it out, the prostitute is guilty but Craigslist is free of any crime.

However the Attorney General of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, believed this wasn’t enough and threatened criminal charges if Craigslist did not comply. Craigslist had recently entered into South Carolina and was quickly adapted by it’s residence. McMaster sent Craigslist an ultimatum demanding ALL sexual postings be removed from Craigslist South Carolina. He first threatened legal action if Craigslist did not comply in 10 days.

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