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Open Hardware, Technology, TV, Video

Video’s starring role in community building

Today as part of the day job I was talking about the importance of manufacturers in listening and engaging with the communities who use their products.

Not just for ways in which they can sell more products, but as a means of learning more about how people use and interact with their products, about how some manufacturers – notably the likes of LEGO, Local Motors are using these communities to create new products and services.

Community building is something the maker and Open Hardware movement is pretty good at. I’ve written about some of the results in posts on digital innovation and more recently community-focussed commerce.

The thing I didn’t mention was the role that video can play in this. I should add that this wasn’t a glaring oops moment, in the context of the conversation it wouldn’t have been appropriate, but still this is a quick blog post to redress the omission.

It won’t surprise you, regular reader (yes you) that I think video is important. You can showcase products, talk about and illustrate ideas in ways which are just impossible in text.

Also importantly video can play a role in developing communities. I want to give a couple of examples.

A few weeks ago MakerBot, manufacturers of 3D printers and the brains behind Thingiverse, launched MakerBotTV.

It’s a webseries which looks at the way in which people are using the 3D printers, advice on how to use them and as a method of marketing the devices. Episode one is below.

Each episode lasts around five minutes and fun to watch.

Tubefilter carried an interview with Bre Pettis this week, talking about the purpose of the new web TV series which is worth a read.

Similarly the likes of Arduino are using video to showcase products and ideas extensively on their blog. You should certainly check them out if you haven’t already.

Another really good example is Make: Live. This is a fortnightly show looking at different aspects of the maker movement.

The shows have a lot of viewer engagement and are often built around the content in the published magazine. There’s also a link with Makerbot as they’ve just shifted production to the NY MakerBot facility. Go here to find out more and also see the archive of previous episodes.

The point is that video captures more than just ideas, it highlights enthusiasm and promotes passion. We all know that enthusiasm can be infectious, when it comes to community building it brings a whole new meaning to viral video.

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