Friday, October 06, 2006

Aunt Margaret a star in my latest video

No this is not an attempt to boost my viewing numbers on my YouTube channel (but should you feel you want to, click on the link on the left) but rather another experiment in video for constituents.

My experience of putting videos on YouTube is that the non political ones get the most viewers. Hence my recent jokes about my Copacabana Beach video doing a great deal better than the blogger of the year clips! (My Petronas Towers and Pyramids and the Shhinx videos are doing rather well as well!). Last night however I sent out my latest email newsletter to over 600 addresses in the Whickham area (where my council ward is in Blaydon constituency). It included links to 4 videos: one was the official opening of a local fire station, 2 were of the Tall Ships Race on Tyneside last year and the final (and longest) was a human interest story.

The last one was of my Aunt Margaret who, at the age of 92, visited for the first time in 80 years Ravensworth Castle last year. The Castle was actually a stately home but throughout the later twentieth century it fell into ruin. Back in the 1920s however the Castle was used as a girls' boarding school and Margaret was a day pupil there. Most of Ravensworth estate is represented by me on Gateshead Council.

The aim of the visit was to bring back memories of the school and many of these came out on the video. Responses from constituents have been very positive and within a few hours the video had been viewed over 100 times. I expect this to grow further over the weekend. I have also had a number of emails from residents about it.

The issue here is about how to catch people's attention using this new information medium. Get an interesting real life situation with a clear local connection and people will be interested in watching it. The 3 other videos have been viewed but not to the extent of the one about Ravensworth and Margaret.

This weekend however I will be filming a couple of single issue videos, one on cuts to bus services and the other the decision by a mining company to appeal against rejection of its opencast plans (I led the campaign against the plans last year). On top of that I am hosting a Question Time with Fiona Hall MEP in which we have asked constituents to send in questions. I will video the answers and put the link on the next email newsletter to constituents.

Well, it's 11.30pm and I am on the train to Newcastle. I'm due in at 2am.

Sent via BlackBerry

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