There I was squeezing tubes of complimentary Colgate onto my headlights, rubbing it around with my fingertips, then polishing with my Oral B on high blast. Miracle of miracles, the yellowing glass (tartar buildup?) was clear again.

And it was YouTube that showed me how. Come to think of it, YouTube also gave me Charlie Rose chatting with Rem Koolhaas about the CCTV building in China. And as for my own consulting work, YouTube gave me some of the best feedback one could hope for, a video I produced about an architect who designed a kitchen table that goes up for counter work and down for sitting.

Still, I have had reservations about recommending YouTube as a social networking platform. No matter how much I get from YouTube, it still makes me think of flaky Kardashian videos which is fine for ‘tweens, but not suitable for the gravitas of builders and engineers, designers and architects, not in any way that has real impact and brings in new business. If ninety-second, easily-shared videos are ideal for capturing ephemeral cultural moments, they do an injustice to projects that are often years in the making and are meant to last into the next century.  

Meanwhile, type “Architecture” into YouTube and you get 3.7 million not-so-ephemeral results.  That’s why I’m giving up my prejudices about YouTube from here on in. And in fact, for a client meeting coming up next week, I’m going to recommend a content strategy using YouTube as its platform.

“Why?” my client is going to inevitably ask in his low-key, non-threatening way which belies his roots in heavy construction.

Because we’re not going to tell his entire story on two-minute video. That’s point number one.  Point number two is we’re going to script it to tell one very dramatic story that will be highly useful as well as inspiring to anyone who clicks on it.

Script it: Here’s the story in back of the envelope form: “Rats, asbestos, a shared well. So many challenges faced our client – a state university – it almost gave up on its converting an old warehouse into a new science center and innovation park. Here’s how we worked with the project’s architect and engineer to help save the day….”

Figure whoever narrates this video will read at approximately 150 words per minute and the quote above is already 47 words. Also I am assuming that the amount of time a university executive will give to this video is two minutes or less.

Produce it: One of the most under-utilized assets of our town is a community television studio well-subsidized by the cable companies in return for access. We’re talking millions of dollars’ worth of space and equipment from cameras to consoles. Because my client is so low-key and phobic about anything that smacks of self-promotion, chances are we can use the studio for free, as long as we give them the right to air what we do. No problem there!

One caveat: hire a second-year film student who already knows how to use Final Cut or some other editing software. The stuff’s just too hard, at least it was for me.

Distribute and Analyze: Before I do anything with the edited video, I’m going to make sure it gets proper attribution through Creative Commons (see

Once uploaded to YouTube, I’m going to go to for a shortened version of the YouTube link before sharing it on Facebook, Twitter and various social media. If I do that right away, Bitly will give me a very good read on who is watching my client’s video when, how and where.

One other thing I will suggest to you as well as my client: Have a batch of duplicate DVD’s made of the video and mail them as a Public Service Announcement to cable stations. They always have dead air in need of resuscitation. Who knows what University President or CEO may be up at 3 am just in time to catch it!



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