Great content, great people: Five projects worthy of your social media attention
If you’re like me, you enjoy watching things on the internet. I ‘cut the cord’ with my cable subscription in 2011, and have never looked back.
Social media has not only allowed me to discover endless amounts of entertaining content — it’s opened avenues for me to develop close relationships with scores of incredible creators.
The creators whose content I’ll detail below aren’t just skilled videographers/podcasters/writers/etc., they’re genuinely kind-hearted individuals with whom you — yes, you! — can and should build relationships with. Don’t know where to start? I spilled all my secrets in this blog post, and even talked about it on this Periscope.
And before we dive in, I hate to admit that I think the world of creating kick-ass content took a step back when Blab died in Aug. 2016. Although it’s now in the past, I still strongly believe interactive live-video dialogue is the future, and some of the creators here are proof positive.
Without further ado, here is my short list of the five pieces of recurring content I always go out of my way to tune into.
- TenSecondTV with Lindsey Margolis, TheMikeMC and crew
As someone who appreciates talent, humor and production value, I cannot get enough of Ten Second TV, a bi-weekly Snapchat show that has brought together about a half-dozen supremely talented creators for a masterful collaboration that brings out the best in each and every one of them. The show is relatively new — Episode 4 will come out this upcoming Tuesday, March 28 — but you can immediately sense the hard work, passion and creativity the entire TSTV crew has put into this project.
It’s hard to pick a favorite character from the show, but I definitely admire MasterPlumBob’s dedication to the weather segments, and also find myself excited to see what sort of workout MoThePanda will do next. I think the show’s biggest “star” comes from the phenomenal editing — a responsibility split between Margolis and TheMikeMC — which successfully warps your usual 10-second attention span around the entirety of each 8-to-10-minute episode. (See me as the guest on Episode 3.)
Not only is TenSecondTV an accomplishment in its own right — I really think the concept provides a killer blueprint for any like-minded group of storytellers around the world to make magic. Ten Second TV and its motley crue of Snapchatters are onto something huge, and I would strongly encourage any brand seeking a similarly unique content stream to reach out to Mike and/or Lindsey ASAP.
For the foreseeable future, Wednesdays at 7 p.m. Eastern have become appointment Facebook Live time. Move back your weekly bridge game, yoga class or whatever else you’re doing on Wednesdays, and gather the family to enjoy a weekly event that’s redefining what live video is about.
The #NeverSettleShow, which officially debuts Wednesday, April 5, is already re-writing the genre by holding an ongoing series of ‘co-producers’ meetings — intensely collaborative, interactive assemblies where Mario and his team actively gather feedback from the audience that will definitively shape the DNA of the show, all the way from gauging the value of segment ideas, to musical choices, to the types and identities of guests.
The ‘Never Settle’ mantra leads Armstrong — think Jimmy Fallon meets Steve Harvey, with a little Ryan Seacrest — to continually proffer bold promises to the audience, and his personal Periscopes dotted elsewhere during the week reveal that he means every pledge he makes. If anybody but Mario was leading this charge, one might scoff in disbelief, but with the Today Show on his resume, an Emmy on his shelf and livestreaming kingpin Al Roker down the hall (at Hell’s Kitchen-based Roker Media) — and after years of professional and financial struggle (described spectacularly in the video below) — the odds lay strongly in Armstrong’s favor.
Don’t lay all the credit at Mario’s bright-colored-kicks-covered feet, though; his inevitable success will be a huge testament to the talented team that surrounds him — a group that features, among others, venerable producer Adrienne Paxton; Mario’s eccentric social media sidekick, Shy Mukerjee; a brilliant digital wunderkind named Ben; and, of course, Mario’s unflappable better half, Nicole.
But at the end of the day, the show represents a spectacular culmination of years and years of tireless hard work by one of the kindest-hearted individuals you’ll ever come across on social media. Mario Armstrong’s dream, of creating a stage — a physical, spot-lit, boom mic’d, attention-seizing stage — to support, lift up and grow others, comes true beginning April 5, at 7 p.m. Eastern, on the Entrepreneur Magazine Facebook page. You cannot miss it.
If you are enjoying this blog post, please take a minute to Tweet out the link and/or share it on Facebook — thank you!
3. #FrozenSnapFriday with Joe Wilson
The world is quickly learning what many of us have already discovered — that Joe Wilson’s community-driven creativity is a true force to be reckoned with.
Joe’s popular t-shirt line —plain black, with two lines of white serif script reading “We are all famous to a few people.” — has inspired scores of followers around the world, myself included, to embrace their own creativity. Joe’s decades-long journey as a storyteller, including a live-action short and set of graphic novels in the ‘Vampire Mob’ series, has led him to countless auditions and tryouts — and, eventually, to a more comfortable place now, in a cozy Los Angeles studio along with his camera-shy-but-beautiful wife, KZ, and his much less camera-shy sidekick grey cat, Mike.
After overcoming his initial resistance to the Snapchat platform — he, as many others did, felt scorned by the disappearance of Meerkat, Blab, and so on — Joe‘s Snaps have quickly made him famous to more than just a few people. Diehard Joe fans embrace his daily schtick, from the morning cat Snaps, to the stentorian Motivational Chef.
But across every platform, nothing has stuck quite as well as #FrozenSnapFriday, which easily predates the so-yesterday Mannequin Challenge. Frozen Snap Friday, or FSF for short, is a weekly opportunity for Joe’s friends to send him ten seconds of selfie video — without the subject moving a muscle. (Blinking is totally a rookie move.)
The magic happens on Sunday afternoons, when Joe takes to his Mac to stitch all of the Snaps (which must also be emailed to him), over an old-school stock music melody, and into an instant, timeless YouTube classic. Videos are posted Sunday nights.
As more and more editions pile on, Joe’s taken to encouraging themes from week to week — tomorrow’s edition, for no logical reason in particular, will showcase people — including myself — freezing with forks. Last week, for St. Patrick’s Day, Snappers ‘round the world paused for 10 seconds of green.
And if you’re asking, “well, what’s the point?” The answer is, as should almost always be the case on social media, to have fun — and to be a part of something collaborative. The Frozen Snap Friday mashup seems to grow week by week, and, as if Friday wasn’t reason enough to get fired up, it’s something Joe’s community has come to absolutely look forward to. I highly recommend you add Joe on Snapchat, send in your frozen Snap next week and enjoy the ride.
4. Brian Fanzo @iSocialFanz’s #FOMOFanz Podcast
It’s almost become a running joke, that I reference and cite Brian Fanzo @iSocialFanz in almost every single blog post and live-stream that I create, but I don’t care — wherever Brian applies himself these days, he’s crushing it, and lately, he’s on a bigtime podcast kick.
The best part of the #FOMOFanz podcast is really the same best aspect of every other piece of Fanzo content whose praises I’ve sung — that it does not waste your time. The whole premise of this article is to help you find better ways to apply the limited amount of time you might have to consume content — and literally nobody on the planet seems to understand that better than Brian.
Simply put, Brian never, ever wastes your time. He of “Talk Fast, Tweet Faster” fame makes every moment matter, whether you’re watching him on Periscope or Facebook, listening to a podcast, meeting him at one of the dozens of global conferences he’s keynoting these days — or, I’m sure, reading his soon-to-be-completed-(right-Brian?) book(s).
Brian’s pedigree — government work in Afghanistan; a fledgling career as a poker player; an ADHD-battling personal branding specialist and a loving Dad to his three young daughters — is great, and lessons from each step of his career often shine through in his well-thought-out offerings. Psychologically supportive undertones also constantly ring true — his simplistic “#BeYourself” philosophy is as healthy an approach any social media guru will ever develop. (I could write a whole separate blog post about just that — in fact, I already did.)
But more than anyone else I’ve ever met, Brian pledges — and follows through on — that simple principle, that he will always value your time. It makes every broadcast — which are at least weekly, oftentimes more — worthy of a listen.
Created on: Twitter
Also findable on: Facebook, Snapchat (kind of)
I’m blessed to be privy to a slew of great Twitter chats, but none rival the weekly excitement, energy and value of #ChatSnap, which, last week, celebrated its first birthday.
Through the course of its first year, the chat has played home to major Snapchat celebrities like Shaun Ayala, Shonduras, GiniCanBreathe, Chocolate Johnny, Joel Comm and Mark Kaye, just to name a few. (Look through all the chat recaps here.)
What makes #ChatSnap so special is that it unearths a whole separate world of social communications — one that is often more tightly knit than the public Twitter arena. In a world where too many people still tie themselves and their brand to one platform or another, #Chatsnap routinely bursts through those norms, and joins together Snapchatters from around the world whose only common thread is another platform — where they would likely never otherwise find one another.
Through 51 chats, tens of thousands of Tweets and millions upon millions of impressions, the most important statistic of all is the new relationships fostered through the weekly discussions. Speaking from my own personal experience, I’ve made hundreds of new friends through the chat, not to mention a strong bond with the host herself.
Kristy Gillentine is as humble as they come — I had to beg her to indulge the spotlight for the celebratory one-year chat last week, when guests from Year 1 sent in questions via Snapchat for her to answer — and she’s laser-focused on continuing to grow #ChatSnap into one of the most impactful communities on Twitter. We’re lining up guests for Year 2 — full disclosure, I’m the chat’s ‘Executive Producer,’ in charge of helping Kristy develop questions and identify guests (and here’s a recap of the time I was the guest, back in December) — so if you have a favorite Snapper, don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know.
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That’s it, that’s the list — there are certainly (a whole lot!) more sets of content that I love tuning in to, and if you’re looking for more live video creators to get started with, this blog covers that specific topic.
If you enjoyed this blog post, please take a moment to Tweet it out, and/or post it on Facebook — thank you in advance!
And one final thought — as each of these series have developed one heck of a niche following for themselves, I’d encourage each creator listed in this post to reach out to the others to see how they can support one another. (How sick would it be to see Mario Armstrong on TenSecondTV, or TheMikeMC on #ChatSnap?) Collaboration is more than just fun and games, it’s very much the future of business, and collaborators collaborating can make some very special things happen.
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Chris Strub is the first man to live-stream and Snapchat in all 50 U.S. states and the author of ’50 States, 100 Days: The Book.’ He will literally dance to Gangnam Style on repeat if you buy his book (go ahead, try him.) Until March 31, you can support his Thunderclap that will help with his book here.