Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), Oprah.com and Facebook Lined Up for Oprah's 'Lifeclass' Series

Oprah winfrey network logo Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn’t know the first thing about either.” —Marshall McLuhan

On October 10th Oprah Winfrey will launch an all-new five week series, Oprah's Lifeclass, where she will reflect on and share the lessons that she learned during the 25-year history of The Oprah Winfrey Show.

The Oprah's Lifeclass, which airs on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), will also feature an online companion course "Life Work" that will feature exclusive videos, articles, quizzes and advice from leading experts to help students get their life on track and moving in a new direction.


In a move that will surely appeal to the younger demographic, the Life Class series will also harness the power of Facebook as a learning platform and will feature a live post-show class meeting with Oprah on Facebook.

This isn't the first time that Ms. Winfrey has used emerging digital and social media in an edutainment  context. In 2008 Oprah used Skype to hold an Oprah's Book Club discussion with Eckhart Tolle. She joined forces with Anderson Cooper in 2009 to hold a Book Club webcast with Uwem Akpan.

For someone like myself, who has spent a good chunk of my time evangelizing the use of social media, education and entertainment as teaching tools, I'm beyond giddy that someone of Ms. Winfrey's stature is moving her network and voice in this direction.

What is truly exciting is to see OWN embrace both emerging social platforms like Facebook along with the web for online learning. Although, this shouldn't come as too much of a suprise that Ms. Winfrey is taking 'the classroom' anywhere the students are gathered and prepared to learn.

During her 25 years on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Ms. Winfrey turned the network television into the world's biggest classroom. Whether it's building schools in Africa or educating her live audience in Chicago or viewers at home in San Antonio, Stockholm or Sydney, education has been at the core of Oprah's message.

You can sign up for Oprah's Lifeclass here.

Global Youth: UNICEF Report | State of the World’s Children 2011

UNICEF has released their annual report, The State of the World’s Children 2011: Adolescence – An Age of Opportunity, which examines the global state of adolescents; outlines the challenges they face in health, education, protection and participation; and explores the risks and vulnerabilities of this pivotal stage.

UNICEF Report: The State of the World’s Children 2011

The report highlights the singular opportunities that adolescence offers, both for adolescents themselves and for the societies they live in.


The accumulated evidence demonstrates that investing in adolescents' second decade is our best hope of breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty and inequity and of laying the foundation for a more peaceful, tolerant and equitable world.

Military Government Using Facebook to Reach Out to Egyptian Youth

"I’m hearing that the temporary military government has begun using Facebook to reach out to Egyptian youth, even creating a Facebook Fan Page page (here).

The Ministry of Interior, in attempt to repair the image of the state police, has set up multiple pages. And while my guess is that being a locus of political uprisings wasn’t the original intent of the American college campus-based social network, somewhere Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has got to be secretly proud.

Click here for an excellent video of how young activists in Cairo documented the Egyptian protests despite the Internet blocks."

via techcrunch.com

Indie Film: Support East African Storytellers

For three weeks this summer, twenty African artists met on the Island of Manda, Kenya to take part in Sundance Institute's first-ever East African Theatre Lab.

To support the development of their original stories for the stage, the Institute's staff and advisors encouraged participating artists to freely explore the creative possibilities within their work.

Lab participants represented a new generation of African writers, musicians, and performers, and their work promises to introduce storytelling that is exciting and innovative to audiences around the world.

It is with support from people like us that Sundance can continue to advance originality, diversity, and authenticity in independent film and theatre. Be a part of the stories that need to be heard.

Please, make the difference for independent artists across the world.

Global Youth: Kenyan Youth Make "Makmende" a Viral Music Hit


Kenyan-based Just-a-Band have sparked what many are calling Kenya’s first viral sensation with a new 1970s themed music video for their song "Ha-He" featuring a Chuck Norris-ish, kung fu, butt kicking character known as Makmende.

Makmende, a Swahili slang word which means "a hero", is a term used by Kenyan youth in the early to mid 1990s to refer to someone who thinks he’s a superhero. The name supposedly originated from a mispronunciation of Clint Eastwood's phrase "Go ahead, make my day" (Mek ma nday) from his 1983 movie Sudden Impact.

Since the release of the video, Makmende has exploded across the web, including a Facebook Fan Page,  a Twitter account and a website. In addition, Makmende has been the biggest trending topic on Twitter in Kenya.

If Makmende mania continues to build throughout Africa and continues to the US and UK, expect to see a Makmende action film on the silver screen (or playground) near you!

Weekly Wrap: Fisher-Price Facebook Apps, I Want My Android TV, Justin Bieber for Old People, UK Entertainment Convergence, SXSW Roundup & More!

Barking.robot.iconFisher-Price App Aims for Moms on Facebook: Targeting the many moms online, Mattel’s Fisher-Price is launching a Facebook app Thursday that allows mothers to be more selective in choosing which of their friends can see photos of their children. Mothers who go online, particularly the influential group of “mommy bloggers,” present an important market for toy makers. [WSJ]

Android TV! | Google, Intel & Sony Join Forces: This trend is potentially much more disruptive than the introduction of 3D displays. Now a secret joint effort by Google, Intel and Sony to enter this field in partnership has been revealed. It will bring Google’s Android operating system and Chrome browser to TVs and set top boxes.

The technology has the potential to be disruptive to traditional TV by making the full range of Internet content available on television. [Collaborative Creativity]

What's TV's Next Business Model: It's hard to find TV content today that does not contain Web site addresses, Twitter mentions, and text-based messages throughout. It's accepted that even with these "light" reference points, as it stands now TV's long-term prospects pale in comparison to those of the Internet, mostly because TV content still has no direct-response mechanism.

Blending Internet elements into TV content makes for a seamless experience - and, in my opinion, is tomorrow's preferred business model. Related: Business Exchange > "Social Television" [MediaPost] [Business Weekly]

US Children get Playboy, not Bugs Bunny in Cable Mix-up: Young viewers of children's television programs in North Carolina got a glimpse of something far more risque than their favorite cartoons, when a cable glitch broadcast two hours of the Playboy channel. (Oooops!) [Yahoo! News]

Entertainment Convergence in the UK Digital Home: The UK is still at a relatively early stage of convergence when it comes to digital entertainment such as TV shows, films, short-form video, games, music and social networking. But momentum is building. [eMarketer]

Vodafone gives $1 million grant to Web Foundation for Web-enabling entrepreneurs in Africa: While only 25 percent of the world population uses the Web today, more than 70 percent of the world’s population has access to mobile or fixed communication devices capable of displaying Web content.

In Africa, where the Internet penetration rate is approximately 6.8 percent, furthering Web access can create learning opportunities for local entrepreneurs and support the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals to end poverty by 2015. [WWW Foundation]

SXSW Video Interview Roundup: SXSW 2010 was a gathering of innovative companies, forward thinking people, and interactive influencers. While I didn’t have a chance to talk to all 15,000 attendees, I was able to speak to a few choice companies that have progressive products in the social media and technology realm. [Edelman]

India's Rural Cell Movement: Just last month, nearly 20 million new mobile accounts were opened. That’s more than double the people than have high speed Internet in the entire country. Even in slums where people live on less than $2 a day, everyone has a phone. If “Slumdog Millionaire” was more accurate, Jamal wouldn’t have had to go on TV to find Latika. He could have just called her, or worst case, called a few friends until he found her number. [TechCrunch] [Yahoo! Movies]

Content Strategy is Much More than Web Copywriting: Where there should be content strategy and SEO strategy, we're often on projects where we're focused much more on target audience personas, design standards and project management charts, instead of content. The web writer is then brought in, given the creative brief, the wireframe and two weeks to "crank out the content." [Ignite Social Media]

The Justin Bieber Guide for Old People: Bad news, Old Person: No matter how much you try to avoid it, you will have to eventually interact with someone to whom Justin Bieber (BEE-BURR) is the sun around which their little life revolves. So we present this Justin Bieber Guide for Old People to help you avoid embarrassing yourself in front of your offspring, students, or patrons of your candy shop. [Gawker]

Flemish Digital Youthwork Practices: On the 8th and 9th of February 2010, Steunpunt Jeugd, Flemish knowledge and expertise center on youth, youthwork and youth policy, organized a big congress (JET) centered around youth, youth work and youth policy. One of these sessions is labeled "the 'e' in youthwork" that collected e-practices in Flemish youthwork. [Youth Work Online]

Global Youth: For Kenyan children, a small act has a huge impact

Jennifer Arnold's highly acclaimed documentary, A Small Act, tells the story of Chris Mburu, a Kenyan man whose early education was sponsored by Hilde Back--a woman from Sweden whom he had never met. 

via festival.sundance.org

By donating roughly $15 a month to an education fund, her small contribution paid off: Chris made it all the way to Harvard Law School and then started his own scholarship program, which now sponsors new generations of Kenyan students who would otherwise not have the opportunity to go to school.

In a recent Sundance Film newsletter, Jennifer shared how her film motivated people get involved and do what they could to help Chris provide an education for Kenyan children.

"After Festival screenings, I kept hearing from people how the film empowered them to make a difference. Audience members started handing us unsolicited donations—from twenty dollar bills to thousand dollar checks.

By the time the Festival was finished, $90,000 had been donated to an education fund, which means that more Kenyan children will go to school."

Sometimes we look at all the problems in the world and think that we can't do anything about it. We think that the problems are too complex, too far away, the problems unsolvable. But as Jennifer and Chris demonstrate, sometimes all it takes is a small act to change the course of a child's life.

Update: Jennifer Arnold's documentary film "A Small Act" is now showing on HBO!

Global Youth: What Youth Think | 2010 Youth Trends Report

Partnering with youth marketers, culture and trend experts from around the world, Graham Brown (the force behind mobileYouth) have crowd-sourced an impressive amount of research on global youth trends and shared his findings in a series of three presentations.

What Youth Think: 2010 Youth Trends Report presentations are a must see for youth marketers, media planners, educators, youth pastors and anyone else who works in the youth space.

So sit back, take notes and enjoy. Then let's all meet up at the Carrot Mob!

Weekly Wrap: Yahoo's Social Strategy, TweSMS for South Africa, Little Passports, 3D TV Hype, 25 UX Videos, Brands As Media, Power of the Social Experience, Mobile Apps & More!

Derek.baird.barking.robotNielsen Preps TV, Online Video Report: Nielsen has set its schedule for reporting integrated TV and online audience viewing data. The initiative is called TVandPC, and the first "extended screen" estimates of the combined audiences will be available for the month of September as evaluation data, delivered to clients sometime in fourth quarter. The evaluation period will end in Feb. 2011.[Brand Week]

The 'Connect Wars': Not content to control only their own domains, social web sites are trying to conquer those of everyone else — by becoming the dominant log-in system for the web. Facebook, of course, is off to a quick and convincing start. [GigaOM] 

Yahoo's Social Strategy Takes Root in Asia: A series of deals with major social networks shows Yahoo moving away from its origins as a traditional portal, as it sets its sights on becoming a content-rich destination where people can interact with and navigate to all their favorite sites. [Asia Media Journal]

Twitter SMS Notifications for South Africa: TweSMS is a third party application that allows you to receive your twitter notifications and updates delivered straight to you phone via SMS message. [TweSMS]

Create Your Own Android or iPhone App in Minutes: Creating a self-branded iPhone or Android app just got a lot more accessible. iSites, a new service launching today, allows you to take your website’s RSS feed and data and quickly transform it into a full-fledged iPhone app. [Mashable]

Global Youth: Turn Kids Into Globetrotters: In an era dominated by electronic communication, people are embracing concepts from a slower age, like the company that transforms emails into paper letters and one that resurrected the classic telegram. Little Passports combines that nostalgia for 'real' mail and combines it with the convenience of a subscription service. [Little Passports] 

3D TV Is 'Mostly Hype': 3D has been getting boatloads of attention, especially during this week at CES where major electronics firms are unveiling their new 3D TVs, but while Sony and others would like you to believe that we'll all be playing video games and watching movies in glorious 3D this year, Forrester Research would tell you otherwise. Related: CES and Vegas 2010: Supersized Vulgarity [Industry Gamers] [Collaborative Creativity]

The Power of the Social Experience: This is why both employers and marketers interested in Generation Y need to realise that, while social technology is the new thing, just being on Facebook and Twitter won’t be as effective in attracting and retaining this cohort, as inviting Generation Y to experience the potential of what you have to offer with a friend or two. [Naked Generations] 

Social Marketing in Twenty Ten: As I believe, Social Media is not owned by any one department. The entire company will eventually socialize represented by each division that warrants an outward and participatory voice. Conversations always map to the activity that exists across multiple networks, spanning a multitude of subjects and potential outcomes. [Brian Solis]

All Brands Are Media: Why are brands choosing to become media companies? Because they can. Blogs, Web publishing, smartphones, tablets, e-book readers, netbooks and other tools providing access to the Internet allow firms to create media sites as easily as old-line publishers can. [IP Carrier]

Oprah's No Texing & Driving Campaign: It's the show that started Oprah's No Phone Zone movement. Watch a 15 minute clip or the entire episode about the dangers of distracted driving, then sign the No Phone Zone Pledge. Related: Buck Hollywood > No More Texting and Driving [Oprah Winfrey] [Buck Hollywood]

25 User Experience Videos That Are Worth Your Time: Rare are the opportunities to attend conferences or watch live shows on subjects that we’re interested in. That’s why we are presenting here phenomenal videos and related resources on the topic of user experience (UX) by different presenters at different events. [Smashing Magazine]

Barking Robot Mini: Be sure to also check out my Tumblr, Barking Robot Mini, for links, pictures and other stuff I've stumbled across during my digital walkabout!

InfoGraphic: 10 Largest Youth Populations

SHOW is an online informational tool launched in May 2008 by Mapping Worlds under the age of 15. The website offers users a new way to look at the world by resizing countries on the map according to a series of global issues.

In this interactive map SHOW breaks down the ten largest youth populations. The current crop of children is the largest in world history. However, the global baby boom is slowing, and total births are projected to begin falling in 2030.

Fertility is already falling in many developed countries, but the decline is offset somewhat by immigration. Three of every ten people in India is under 15; in Africa, four of every ten.

Global Youth: Win a Trip with Nicholas Kristof 2010

Nicholas.kristof.tripNicholas Kristof, The New York Times Op-Ed columnist and co-author of Half the Sky, invites students to enter an essay contest to win a reporting trip to Africa, giving them an opportunity to blog for nytimes.com and to file videos to The Times and YouTube.

The contest is open to students at American universities – either undergraduates or graduate students – who are 18 years old or over. The application deadline is a minute before midnight, Eastern Time, on Monday, Jan 18.

So what is Mr. Kristof looking for? Here's the scoop from his blog:

You can apply either with an essay of up to 700 words, or a video of up to three minutes, or both. Send the essay to winatrip@nytimes.com.

Post the video on my YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/NicholasKristof, next to my own video invitation for applications. In either case, explain why I should pick you.

So what kind of a person am I looking for? The truth is, I’m not entirely sure – except that I want someone with excellent communication skills, who can blog and vlog (video blog) in ways that will capture the interest of other students.

If you’ve done blogging, vlogging or journalism, be sure to mention that. Ditto for anything else that makes you special or will make your voice more memorable.

What a fantastic and life changing experience! I would encourage any student who is interested in social justice issues (like global poverty) and sharing "the we stories" of people who don't have a voice to apply for this opportunity.

For those of us who are a wee bit beyond our college years and ineligible for this trip--you can still get involved by supporting the Half the Sky Movement, Charity Water or Oprah Winfrey's For All Women Registry. There are lots of ways to help people suffering from crushing poverty.

Even $5 dollars can change a life.

For you university students' who are interested in applying for this trip, be sure to check out Mr. Kristof's blog which has all the details, rules, info on the selection process and legalese from the NYT lawyers.

Good luck!

OWN to Launch "Oprah's Film Club"

OWN The soon to be launched Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) has struck a deal with the documentary film distribution company ro*co films international to find documentary films to air on the network.

The partnership will establish a documentary film club on OWN over multiple platforms including primetime airings, an online community outlet and exclusive footage available on OWN.tv. Additionally, the agreement will allow some documentaries to be released nationwide via a theatrical screening event. 

ro*co films international has distributed eight Academy Award nominated or winning documentaries including Born into Brothels, The Garden, Jesus Camp, No End in Sight, Promises, Regret to Inform, Street Fight and The Weather Underground.

As someone who loves both documentary and indie film (yep, I'm a total fan boy!), this is really exciting news. I hope that Oprah's magic touch will encourage more people to seek out, explore and support indie and documentary films.

As much as I love the Sundance Film Festival, I think Ms. Winfrey has the ability, as she did with her Book Club, to make indie film more seem more accessible to regular folks.

One of the best parts of the Sundance Film Festival experience is the opportunity to hear the filmmakers talk about the creative process, the social impact of their documentary, as well as the stories behind the film.

This Sundance Film experience could be replicated for a much larger audience through an OWN webcast, similar to the one Ms. Winfrey and CNN hosted for the Uwem Akpan book "Say You're One of Them."

If you're an indie filmmaker, you can submit your film to ro*co for review to see if it's a fit for the OWN project.

Sorta Related: Report on Copyright and Doc FIlmmaking in South Africa

Weekly Wrap: 10 Social Media Commandments, 'Glee' Obsession, Life Without Facebook, Digital Content is the Future, PS3 Social Upgrade, Life After Oprah, Pakistani Youth & More!

Barking.robot.iconRyan Murphy full of 'Glee': Thanks to his breakout Fox hit "Glee," Ryan Murphy not only has his finger on the pulse of the youth market -- he has it firmly by the throat, so to speak. The exuberant song-and-dance comedy averages 8 million viewers a week (most in the highly desirable 18-49 demo) and has quickly gone from cult obsession to national phenom. [Variety | 2009 Youth Impact Report]

Ten Commandments of Social Media: There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to social media. People seem to think that every day standards and decency get tossed out the window because of the anonymity of the Internet.

There are Ten Commandments of Social Media that you should always try to follow. They will not only make you a better person but they will make your followers that much more appreciative of what you have to say. [Noupe.com]

Life After Oprah: As the Queen of Talk Prepares to Depart for Cable, Clues as to How She'll Fill 24 Hours of Airtime, and More. Related: Here's What to Expect on Oprah's OWN cable network. (Check out the OWN promo video! Pretty cool, but not optimized for social sharing.) [AdAge] [USA Today]

Comcast-NBC Deal Shows Future is in Digital Content: While Comcast seems to be taking a different approach — marrying entertainment content with the largest cable TV system in the nation — it and Time Warner have arrived at the same conclusion: The future is in content, and the pipes that carry it matter less.

But the larger motivation is that Comcast wants more programming — particularly from NBC Universal's cable channels — to deliver to its subscribers and to sell to other distributors. [Yahoo! News]

Sesame Street Heads to Nigeria: Sesame Workshop is developing a new version of the long-running children's series Sesame Street to bring messages about staying in school, girl’s empowerment and HIV/AIDS to Nigeria. [AWN]

Hearst Plans Digital Service: Publisher Hearst Corp. plans to launch next year a service called Skiff to sell digital versions of newspapers and magazines on electronic readers and other devices, in a system it believes will be more visually appealing to readers and more lucrative for media companies. [WSJ]

NYU Student Goes A Week Without Facebook, Becomes Bored: Kelly had initially set out to go Amish and abandon all forms of technology, but pressure from her teacher to not create the suggestion that she had possibly died combined with an unawareness of just how many things constitute as technology prevented her from doing so. [NYU Local]

Designing Websites for Kids: Websites designed for children have been largely overlooked in web design articles and design roundups, but there are many beautiful and interesting design elements and layouts presented on children’s websites that are worthy of discussion and analysis.

There are also a number of best practices that are exclusive to web design for children’s sites — practices that should usually not be attempted on a typical website. [Smashing Magazine]

PS3 to Enhance Online Social Experience: The next firmware update will enable PlayStation 3 system gamers to share their gaming experiences with friends on Facebook, Including Trophies Won In-Game, PlayStation Network Game Purchases, and Game Events. [Sony]

Most Young Pakistanis See Nation Going in Wrong Direction: Despair among the young generation is rooted in the condition of their lives, the report found. Only a fifth of those interviewed had permanent full-time jobs. Half said they did not have sufficient skills to enter the workplace.

And one in four could not read or write, a legacy of the country’s abysmal public education system, in which less than 40% of children are enrolled in school, far below the South Asian average of 58%. [NYT]

Weekly Wrap: Parenting Backlash, Twitter Christmas, Google & OpenID, BBC BullyProof, Africa & Web 2.0, Xbox Live Gets Social, Virgin Mobile, Homeless Teens & Lady GaGa

Barking.robot.icon Backlash Against Helicopter Parents: The insanity crept up on us slowly; we just wanted what was best for our kids. We were so obsessed with our kids' success that parenting turned into a form of product development. Parents demanded that nursery schools offer Mandarin, since it's never too soon to prepare for the competition of a global economy. [TIME]

America’s first Twitter Christmas: America’s first Twitter Christmas got under way in earnest on Friday. Across the land,retailers and their customers used the social networking site to talk to one another about bargains, problems, purchases and shopping strategies. [NYT]

Tweet O' the Week: "I am too tired to play video games. I must be 35." via @smbeaverson

Google Profiles Turn into OpenID: As part of its push to go more social, Google has been attempting to unify its various account profiles into one Google Profile. What this means is that you can sign into any site that accepts OpenID simply by using your Google Profile domain. [TechCrunch]

Youth Judge Brands Like Peers: The clever thing is, understanding which factors earned a brand ‘aspirational’ status enables us to enlighten brands to where they must invest time and effort if they are to succeed in repositioning their brand as they so wish for it to be viewed by the consumer. [MTV Sticky]

BBC BullyProof: The BBC has launched a new campaign targeting online bullying. As part of BBC Radio 1 anti-bullying initiative, Bebo, Facebook, Habbo, MSN, MySpace and YouTube are joining forces for the first time to try and tackle the increasingly serious issue of online bullying by putting in special measures and advice on their sites. [BBC]

Assume Your Personal & Social Media Life Have Merged: Los Angeles Times employees have been advised to watch what they post on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or any online social space. In other words: Privacy Is Dead. [LA Times]

Nintendo Dominating US Female Gaming: Nintendo says 35% of "primary players" of consoles are women, 80% of whom own a Nintendo (11% XBOX, 9% PS3) [EDGE]

Human Rights Groups Warn Against In-Game War Crimes:The study attempted to determine if the acts gamers engage in while they play violent titles would "lead to violations of rules of international law, in particular International Humanitarian Law (IHL), basic norms of International Human Rights Law (IHRL), or International Criminal Law (ICL)." [CNET]

African Trends of Mobile Web & Web 2.0: The relative price for ICT services is highest in Africa, the region with the lowest income levels, yet that households in Kenya are willing to spend up to 50% of their income for mobile phones. (Thanks Dayna!) [Web 2.0 for Dev]

Millions Using Social Media on Xbox Live: First-week figures show that at least 2 million Xbox Live users have logged into Facebook, and that one million Last.fm accounts were created in the first 24 hours of availability. [CNET] [Mashable]

Virgin Mobile USA Monster Ball with Lady GaGa: For the first time, Virgin Mobile USA will extend its innovative "Free I.P." program to a national tour, offering fans who volunteer their time to homeless youth organizations access to free show tickets. Virgin Mobile has been a very active advocate for homeless teens. [CNN Money]

Alternate Reality Games Flourish At the Grassroots: Over the years, the games have become a favorite marketing tool of large companies like Microsoft, which has commissioned huge ARGs, as they're known, for the launches of things like the video game Halo 2. [CNET]