Thursday, April 05, 2007

Vlip for Business -- A Powerful, Easy-to-Use and Interactive New Online Video Tool for Business

As readers of my blog know, SightSpeed recently launched Vlip -- our new consumer-focused interactive online video community. Check it out at

Since launch, I have been personally approached from a surprisingly high number of businesses -- both big and small -- to create a separate business version of Vlip for (1) external "segmented" private community outreach (i.e. a separate Vlip destination site only for those given access to that Vlip experience so that there is a shared community of interest); (2) internal business collaboration and communication (i.e., an internal video message board); or (3) a combination of elements (1) and (2).

Given this high level of interest, we have built a new business flavor of Vlip (also in early beta) and this is now in use by internationally recognized crisis management expert Jonathan L. Bernstein, president of Bernstein Crisis Management LLC and a pioneer and leader in the field of Internet-centered crisis management. Among other things, Jonathan is a regular guest on CNBC and is oft-quoted in the national and international press.

Check out Jonathan's first Vlip below:

For more vlips, visit

And, below, see Jonathan's "vision" for his new Vlip Business service -- as expressed in the newsletter he sent out today to his 15,000 + readers around the world:

By "Crisis Manager" Editor Jonathan Bernstein

Most of you have probably been, or even still are, part of online communities at which visitors post comments on a particular topic and then a "message thread" develops on that topic.
What if you could do the same thing, in seconds, only in video format? And what if the subject was crisis management, turning the discussion into a perpetual exchange of comments and questions and - since you know me - some tongue-in-cheek comments about crises in the news as well as other topics of the type I already cover in my ezine.

There's a fascinating new (and free!) service called "Vlip" launched by, the folks with the highly rated video chat software. "Vlip" is described by its developers as: "an entirely new, easy, active and interactive video community for adults 18 years old and older only. Vlip is the easiest way to create, share, and interact with web cam captured personal video over the Internet. "Vlips" are the single videos and video replies and threads created by "Vlippers" (Vlip users). Just click to record, post, vmail, embed, watch and reply to Vlips! No download or registration is needed (although registration gives you added power and features)." As a Sightspeed subscriber - it has multiple personal and business uses, if you'd care to visit - I received their announcement about the launch of I checked it out and was so impressed I sent them a query, explaining who I was and asking why they didn't yet have a discussion category (same thing as a thread) about business topics, like crisis management.

I was VERY impressed to quickly receive an email directly from Sightspeed CEO Peter Csathy (pronounced "Chotty"), saying, essentially, "let's talk." He and I spoke - using our webcams over Sightspeed, of course - and the result was an offer to give we who are interested in crisis management our own special "Vlip Channel." Like the ezine, it's for "those who are crisis managers, whether they want to be or not."

So that no download or registration of any kind is required - and to keep it as easy to use as possible -- Vlips are flash-based, unlike the higher-quality recordings you can make through Sightspeed to send video email. But the quality of Vlips is still pretty darn good, as you'll see if you drop in and view my welcome message.

Where we go from here is up to you. I'm hoping we can use it, amongst other purposes, for further discussion of articles that have appeared in the most recent issues of "Crisis Manager."
Current crises in the news will always be hot topics, and I am going to encourage crisis management experts - the same folks who guest-author articles in the ezine - to participate. You can speak as an expert, ask a question, suggest a topic, or anything else that is related to advancing our knowledge of crisis management.

All you need is a webcam and a broadband connection. If you decide to subscribe to Sightspeed's "pro" service ($49 annually) - their regular service is free - they'll send you a free webcam.
And no, I don't have any "piece of the action" with Sightspeed or Vlip! However, the printed word has always been limited and can so easily be misunderstood. I much prefer to be able to use non- verbal communication to enhance messages, and this service lets us do that.

Here are some tips for increasing the chance that others will want to view your Vlip - these tips combine my knowledge of effective media training with my experience as moderator of multiple online communities over the years:

¤ Make your main point(s) right up front, and if possible do it in an entertaining way - sound bytes!

¤ If you're not very experienced on-camera, practice a few times, the Vlip system lets you record and re-record and not make your Vlip public until you're ready to.

¤ Don't "sell from the podium," but it's perfectly OK to tell us who you are and, if you wish, your professional position and organization and your city/country of origin.

¤ No personal attacks. We can certainly disagree with each other, but do it politely, please.

¤ No language that wouldn't be permitted on prime-time U.S. television - which gives us a lot of leeway, but not quite as much leeway as XM Radio.

¤ Your webcam may have a built-in microphone, but you will be much easier to hear if you use a headset.

There are multiple other Vlip categories, not just crisis management, and you may like to "play" on those as well. But this one's my baby, so please stop by our virtual classroom,, where there's very little difference between teacher and student.
Jonathan Bernstein
Editor, Crisis Manager
President, Bernstein Crisis Management LLC

Thanks Jonathan for being a pioneer yet again! -- this time adding Vlip to your overall crisis management arsenal of outreach and interaction. Jonathan's vision underscores the unique potential and power of online video interactivity.

Personal Video Services -- A Lifeline for the Deaf Community

"Personal video services" -- especially IP video calling solutions like SightSpeed -- can provide a critical lifeline and communications/interactive tool for the deaf community. What most of us take for granted -- e.g., a simple phone call to our loved ones, or ordering a pizza by phone for home delivery -- can be an ordeal for those who are hearing impaired. But, video calling can change all that and empower users, especially with video relay services who "translate" sign language and help bridge communications. According to the Wikipedia, 500,000 to 2,000,000 people in the U.S. alone communicate via "American Sign Language" or "ASL" (which is the dominant sign language of the deaf community in the U.S.).

Some of the most gratifying parts of being the CEO of SightSpeed are the personal stories of those -- including many who are hearing impaired -- who depend upon SightSpeed to keep them connected to others, including loved ones. High quality is essential for those who use ASL to communicate -- you can imagine that 30 frame per second quality with no latency is essential for effective communication when signing. SightSpeed is uniquely positioned to serve the deaf community due to its ongoing commitment to this kind of quality -- quality which, according to PC Magazine and essentially all other reviewers, no other free consumer-based IP video calling service comes close to matching.

Another interesting thing happened recently when SightSpeed launched its new interactive online video community called Vlip at -- we noticed that several of our early users were recording messages in ASL.

For more vlips, visit

As part of our continuing commitment to the deaf community, we have added a new "ASL" category to foster outreach and interaction among those who communicate by signing. Check it out and spread the word.

Our goal is to make Vlip the easiest to use and most fun and interactive online video community.