Saturday, February 24

Jet Blue - videoblogging for apologists

My good friend Jan over at FauxPress blogged the following about the Jet Blue's CEO posting a public apology on Youtube regarding their holding passengers hostage on a plane for some nine hours.

Thanks to Steve Bryant at NewTeeVee for pointing out another interesting executive video.

To Steve I say that Jet Blue's David Neeleman gets lots and lots of points for not reading from a script. So many folks these days are reading from scripts whose performances have left me cold. Hillary Clinton and Mr. Marriott come to mind. Not to worry, there's a learning curve to mastering authenticity, but you need a dedicated director on board to help you find and learn it.
[Note: Senator Clinton's YouTube announcement video linked from has been taken down for TOS violation. Oops.]
Furthermore, I don't need to hear, "I'm sorry." No-sir-ee. The only really meaningful response to a big-time screwup is action. Free flights, hotels, lots of free stuff for that kinda snafu. Let's see if Neeleman's words translate into motion, then re-evaluate.

Checking the JetBlue website, I found this text apology. Also found their new Bill of Rights, though the amounts of compensation do not seem high enough.

I just wanted to add two things.
  1. Welcome to the new face of the corporate to customer relations.

    Video blogging has natural advantages over regular blogging and PR channels like the press releases or VNRs (video news releases).

    It's particularly enticing as a tool for corporate apologists because it's much more direct then a VNR and much more personable (therefore more empathetic) then a written apology. I personally believe this may be the start of a change in the way companies interact with their customers.

  2. Welcome to the digital dark ages.

    Consider this emphasis. As Jan points out Senator Hillary Clinton's youtube announcement video for has been taken down for violating Youtube's terms of service.

    Normally this means a violation of copyright (the video came from CNN News), but regardless of why youtube removed it I just have one thing to say....

    It doesn't matter wether it was deliberate or accidental youtube's removal of such a video is censorship plain and simple.

    I would even argue that its being arbitrary or accidental is even worse then it's being a deliberate act. At least if it was deliberate it would inform us of youtube's policy on censorship thereby informing our choice as to whether youtube is an appropriate choice for us as individuals.

    On the other hand if youtube is going to randomly and arbitrarily remove videos then it ceases to have any value as a platform for free speech at all and should be considered merely a platform for trash we don't care about.... which... is generally how I currently regard it.

    Please, if you're going to post stuff to youtube post a public backup somewhere.

    This is what we all deserve for depending on a third party. Expect to see a lot more important reference material disappear from youtube in the future. The future of youtube is the proverbial 404. If you you really want something to stick around (if it's important to you at all) I suggest using a tool like to grab it off youtube and save a copy on your own server.

    For example, here's the Jet Blue video in MP4: JetBlue-our-promise-to-you.mp4

    I've included it for the sake of archiving it, because without it this post doesn't make much sense.

    Not only is it on my server in case it disappears from youtube in six months time, but as an MP4 it's also podcast compatible and download able.


Anonymous said...

what is

it seems to be down at the moment

Michael Meiser said... is an open source server side video transcoder that seems to work really well.

There's a similar version over at

It's by Nathan Frietas. I think it's built on the same open source software but it's integrated with Amazon S3 so it can scale like a mofo!

I'm currently trying to get Nathan to make it accept RSS feeds.

The idea being that one day you'll be able to subscribe to any video RSS feed (or audio podcast) and will have all your audio / video podcasts available to you anytime you want anywhere. Thus making audio and video podcasting as ubiquitous as the blackberry makes email.

There are still sigificant hurdles to the vision, but the new Nokia N-series phones and above all the iPhone are headed in that direction.

The really big BIG picture is that rich media like audio podcasting, video and photos will become a part of everyday ubiquitous communications.

One day you'll be as likely to take a video or photo and share it with your mom as you will be to call her on the phone.

Because god knows we all want to keep in touch with our moms, but we just don't have the proverbial 2 hours it takes everytime we call them. Sometimes we just want to say to people... "I was thinking of you"... and when video and photo sharing is a truely ubiquitous part of communications that's just what we'll be able to do! :)

So... that's what vixy is... it's a small piece of the puzzle... is another.

Faux Press said...

First, thanks for the re-vlog / link-love and pointer to

Yes. Videoblogging is another tool for propaganda, to be sure. That said, the acting part is difficult. Hillary's been doing this acting thing for years and still hasn't got authenticity down.

What this means is that CEO's and politicians will have to be actors first and leaders second.

I believed the JetBlue CEO's discomfort. I didn't believe Hillary. Marriott falls squarely in the middle of the belief scale.

Actors are basically great liars, and video-on-the-fly opens the door wide for the great liars of the world to bubble up to the top.

Consumers will have to be more vigilant than ever before in examining information.

Lonelygirl15 comes to mind.

Caveat emptor.

Michael Meiser said...

I'm not so worried about the great liars issue. Yes there's some important changes happening culturally about how people are going to gain political and economic mobility. But there's also going to be a huge change in transparency.

I can see right off the bat the HUGE power that comes from making your own communications channel. You get to choose exactly what you say and how you present yourself. That's extremely interesting when you talk about politics. Some of the first political podcasts like iFrist and Obama's definitely made me realize that. However at the same time people will be more informed and more connected then ever. Bloggers have already proven there ability to sniff out the b.s.

There's going to be a lot more scrutiny.

Another reason why it's going to work is because once you put a podcast or vlog post out there you can't recall it. It's out there for good.

Transparency is the key.

Besides if you're a liar (or an actor) which world is easier to exist in... one where you only have to act at set appearances or one where anyone at any time could pull out a camera and point it at you or stick a mic in your face. It's going to be awfully hard work to maintain a lie in the future.

What worries me most actually is the white elephant. Empathy. Are we going to let people get away with shit the way we let those we know get away with shit. Call it steve jobs reality distortion field... or what about Microsoft as it's face becomes that of a thousand bloggers. Are we going to be more apt to let things slide as companies put on a more human face and forget about their more prickly matters... or will the opposite be true? Who knows.