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12seconds as a (breaking?) news tool

August 4, 2009

A while back, I posted about a (rather ambitious, given my schedule lately) list of goals I had for my journalism/social media life this summer. One of those goals was to figure out how best to use 12seconds 12seconds and while I haven’t really used it much, I did find someone else using it in an interesting way.

My boss directed me to this report on The Wenatchee World’s site, in which reporter Kathryn Stevens (or at least, some guy using her 12seconds account) used 12seconds to report on a garage fire. If you check out Stevens’ 12seconds page, you’ll notice this wasn’t the only time they used it, either—and it wasn’t just breaking news they used it for.

The best part is that it was seemingly effective—to the tune of 1,442 views on the garage fire (though I’m not sure how that stacks up against the average 12seconds post or Wenatchee World’s traffic).

Kathryn Stevens 12seconds updateThis I can get on board with. I’ve been perplexed by 12seconds for a while now; I just can’t see myself serendipitously scrolling through pages and pages of 12-second videos. But as embedded news posts (or whatever), I can see how they’d be effective. I’m on a site, I read a little text, and—”Oh … yeah, I wouldn’t mind watching 12 seconds of video.”

On the other hand, I think this could be ruined for me all over again with the advent of the video-enabled iPhone 3GS (I don’t have one yet). The 3G 12seconds app offers a way to get mixed video and audio online: You shoot three stills and record 12 seconds of audio, which is then posted to your account. With an iPhone 3GS, though, why not shoot longer videos and post them straight to YouTube. If you could access your newsroom’s CMS on your mobile browser (WordPress, for instance), you could even embed your video direct from the field. [Update/note: 12seconds just launched 12cast, their 3GS app.]

Bottom line: It looks like the Wenatchee World has found a fine use for 12seconds and I’ll continue watching to see how often they use it. I may even try it out myself if I find myself in a situation that calls for “breaking” video. And I think it’s a good option for iPhone 3G users. But if you’ve got the 3GS, I’m thinking YouTube is a more attractive alternative.

Update: 12seconds has an explanation for how to embed 12’s (12’s:12seconds::Tweets:Twitter?) at their API Google Group (scroll down just a bit).

Another update: Or you can just embed the easy way.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2009 10:28 am

    Hey Paul,

    Interesting article! We too are looking closely at how people use our site and certainly breaking news could potentially be a great use case for 12seconds. We’re working on better ways of doing news and citizen journalism better and we hope to have some news on that in the coming months.

    Also, not sure if you are aware, but we now have a full video app for the iPhone 3GS called 12cast ( that does the simple video-to-twitter. We think the app is more simple and easy to use than YouTube might be and the 12 second limit makes it easily consumable by your followers.

    Let us know if there’s anything you would want in our platform that would make it better/easier to report news stories.


    (oh.. and I think you’re linking to at the top of your post! We’re

  2. August 5, 2009 12:57 pm


    I did know about the 3GS app—just forgot to mention it in the post (that’s been updated, along with the URL).

    The embed code on your API page is very useful, but it did take a little looking for. Any chance you might add an embed code option for each individual 12? (I know you’ve got widgets to embed channel players.)

    I posted about 12seconds on my company blog (internal) yesterday, too, and I’ll get the word out if any of our newsrooms use it (I don’t do a ton of reporting myself). And I’ll keep digging around to see how other journalists are using it.

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. August 5, 2009 1:00 pm

    The embed code is on every single video page on the site (For example, see If you go there, there is an embed code the right for that video. That’s available for every video on the site.

    Let me know if you need help with anything else or have any further suggestions. Would love to see more news people on the site!



  4. August 5, 2009 2:08 pm

    Apparently I over-thought things.

    Thanks for bantering. You guys have it over on YouTube in terms of personalized customer service, I’m sure. :)

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