Using multimedia tools to present information

Phil Bradley encourages us to try new ways of presenting, sharing and creating information.

From consumers to creators

In 'the old days' the vast majority of us were simply consumers of content on the Internet. This is understandable because it wasn't an easy medium to work within; we needed to know HTML, the code used to write webpages, and then we had to find some way to put this online, which required knowledge of arcane subjects such as FTP.  Now however, that's all changed, and for the better. Rather than simply being consumers of content, the majority of us can now become creators of content, and not only in the traditional written format.

An increasingly visual platform

The internet is increasingly becoming a visual platform; every screen seems to have images of one sort or another on it. No longer must we rely on the same tired old collections of clip art which make even the newest poster look old and tired - we can create rich collections of images. Moreover, why stop there? Infographics have become one of the success stories of the last 18 months, and there are plenty of tools available that allow even the most graphically challenged to create visually interesting and vibrant posters.

Commentary and narration

Creating podcasts, or adding a verbal commentary to a slideshow are now commonplace. They are also wonderfully easy to create, needing little more than a cheap set of headphones and some free software. Alternatively record your voice and use it with an onscreen avatar to welcome someone to a site.

How about screencasting? This is a marvellous way to teach and educate. Simply take a copy of what's on the screen, while it's actually happening, and narrate it. Then save it, put it online and share it with other people.

Guiding tools

If you're the type of information professional who likes pointing people to resources, why not consider some of the many guiding tools that are available, such as Jogtheweb or Pearltrees which are designed to allow you to help your members find the information they need in a structured and visually helpful manner.

If you'd like to take the next step, start using a webcam. Think of the different ways that you can then start to interact with people. Chatting online, using the Google+ hangouts option, running a face to face advice service where both participants are miles, if not hundreds of miles apart!

Conversation and creation

Of course, if you don't like the idea of appearing on a monitor near you, there are many different chat room devices that you can utilise, many that you don't even need to sign up to be able to use. Just create a room and go chat!

Of course, if you really want to go wild, start taking videos, editing them and putting them up onto the internet in your own YouTube account so that you can share them with other people. A smartphone or cheap video camera is all that you need.
The internet isn't about consuming words any longer. It's about being a creator in a multimedia world, using images, sound, and video to create compelling content for your members.

Phil Bradley is an information specialist and well known Internet consultant. He runs courses on various aspects of the Internet, is a webpage writer and designer, is the author of several books about the Internet and speaks on various Internet related subjects at conferences.

Phil will be running a training course on new ways of presenting information for UKeiG.

Image courtesy of Lara604 via Flickr.