Baby Steps: Getting used to social media with Animoto

According to David McClelland’s theory of Human Motivaton, I am motivated by “affiliation.”  This means that I like human interaction, and I do best with face-to-face communication.

Since I am a little uncomfortable with using social media to interact on the internet, I wanted something familiar to start out.   And what better way to start than with a program that allows me to see faces 🙂   After seeing a couple of great videos using Animoto, I thought that maybe this would be a good place for me to dip my toes.

Animoto is a platform for setting pictures and videos to music.  At first I signed up for Animoto as an individual, just to get familiar with it, and was able to make 30 second clips for free.  Anything longer you have to pay for an account.  This is where working for a nonprofit or charitable organization comes in handy, because they have Animoto for a Cause, which allows you to apply for a full access professional account.  These accounts normally cost a lot, but if your agency is accepted to Animoto for a Cause, you get it absolutely free!  This allows you to do things like insert text, link back to your website, and download DVD quality copies of your video to use off line. I like it most because it lets you control the speed at which your video plays, which you can’t do with the free service, allowing you to time your pictures to the music.

The best part about Animoto is that it’s super easy to make attractive and engaging presentations that you can post directly to a website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed.  You just upload picture files, type in your text, choose your music, and within a couple of minutes Animoto spits out a finished product.

As with all things, it’s not perfect.  There is a character limit on the text boxes that can make it hard to convey your message.  But, I found that the challenge of getting my meaning across in less than 30 characters really gets the creative juices flowing, and can help make my message more powerful.

You also can’t just use any song you want, since copyright and licensing issues get in the way.  A good way to get around that is just to shuffle through Animoto’s music library…they’ve got a good variety, though be ready to spend some time listening to everything to find a good fit.  You can also use Creative Commons music (Animoto suggests Jamendo.com and Freesound.org as good sites).   If you really want to use a particular song, like “We Will Rock You” by Queen, you would have to contact the owner of the copyright and find out if you need permission.  If anyone has more information on how to find out copyright info easily through the internet, please let me know… I’ve been having trouble figuring out where to start.

Whew!  My first step into the abyss.  It was much less painful than I expected, and the nice thing about it is that you don’t have to make your videos public until they are exactly how you want (less chance for embarrassing mistakes:P)

If there are any tools or resources that you are interested in, just let me know and I’ll look into them!

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