We’re thrilled to announce the launch of Miro Community, in partnership with the Knight Foundation. It’s a powerful way to draw video from all over the web, whether it’s produced by you or someone else, into a highly customizable site that you control.
CALL FOR LOCAL AND PUBLIC MEDIA PARTNERS:
We are beginning this public beta period with a particular focus on local communities. Over the next couple months, we will be launching locally focused video sites with WNYC in New York, BAVC in San Francisco, Medfield Access in Medfield, MA and several others (see our partners section below for more details on these and others). We are seeking additional partners for sites in other cities and towns. In particular, we are looking for organizations that have a strong local connection, an existing media outlet, and a curatorial focus. Miro Community will allow these groups to add a world-class video site, focused on their local community a virtually no cost and with only a small amount of curatorial work each day. It is an excellent way to extend your connection to your local community. If you are interested in launching a site in your city or town, please be in touch: dean [a] pculture.org.
This New Service
The primary goal of this project is to enable local video websites to quickly develop and flourish. Miro Community gives any person, public broadcaster, or local media access center a simple way to create a video front page for their city, town or region.
Miro Community was born out of the chicken or egg dilemma of hyper-local video: audience first or site/content first. When developing the idea, we realized that most organizations would need a guaranteed audience before they could dedicate resources to building an expensive video site. And likewise, there would need to be lots of interesting video available to community members, in order to attract this regular viewing audience. With this catch 22 in mind, we figured that making it quick, easy, and inexpensive or free to create a robust community video site was a sensible approach. We also realized that most communities have an abundance of video that exists on the web and just needs to be collected where a community could be cultivated around it.
Miro Community is designed to help people and organizations efficiently create, maintain, and curate a topical or hyper-local site. Videos can come from YouTube, blip.tv, Vimeo, or almost any video blog or site powered by drupal, plone, or other CMS that creates a media RSS feed. Miro Community is Free and Open Source Software (source available here).
We also decided to create a fully hosted version of Miro Community that would require no IT resources. The hosted sites can be located on AnyDomain.com or sub.Domain.com and are fully customizable through CSS. Every site has the potential to be completely branded and owned by the organization that creates it. Furthermore, conversations happen within the community siteâ€”positive social norms can be instilled and nasty comments (like the type that sometimes appear on YouTube) can be dealt with swiftly and painlessly.
Anyone can set up a site for free on our beta server.
A Video-Centric Approach
Sites that maintain regular viewing audiences are usually video destinations first and foremost. In other words, websites that integrate video as a secondary function or as an afterthought generally never gain traction as places to go watch video. The most successful video sites and communities are centered around watching the videos; for example, YouTube, Hulu, and the TED conference. These sites each have regular viewers/visitors who come expecting entertainment, enrichment, and engagement. Therefore we developed Miro Community with the idea that a successful community is built around the videos themselves and we didn’t focus on integration or hiding videos behind organizational firewalls.
Miro Community Partners
We’ve partnered up with a lot of great organizations for Miro Community, including WNYC, the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC), Economystory.org, the Pittsburgh Foundation and public access station Medfield.TV. WNYC’s upcoming site will expand video coverage of arts and culture in New York City. BAVC and Medfield.TV are leading the way in innovative new understandings of public access, embracing a mission of empowering community media both inside and outside of their studios. Jason Daniels, Executive Director at Medfield.TV, hopes that their site, video.medfield.tv, will particularly attract young people to a new vision of public access, creating connections between their online pursuits and their physical communities. Meanwhile, Economystory.org, a project of PRX, brings together unconventional stories about the American economy, and uses videos.economystory.org to present video stories that might not make it on the radio but are just as fascinating as the latest â€œPlanet Moneyâ€ coverage. As Economystory shows, Miro Community sites are not just for geographically linked communities, but also for communities of interest.
We’re interested in expanding our partnerships with local media organizations, and helping them jump-start a video front-page in their community. If you’re interested, or know a person or organization who might be, please get in touch: dean [at] pculture.org.
Miro Community has been made possible through a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation