My YouTube inspiration for you

betty ming liu Inspiration 20 Comments

YouTube is the future and I’m ready to be part of it! So here I am with my first home-made starring video, along with some useful links that might inspire you to explore YouTube as either a viewer or as a videographer.

My glamorous two-minute debut is all about my favorite inspirational passage.

As many of my friends and former students already know, this selection comes from Anne Lamott’s 1994 memoir, “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.”

The text to the actual passage appears in an earlier post. When I blogged it back in the ancient days of Summer 2010, sharing written words felt good enough.

But not anymore. We’re living in a multimedia communication age where people are viewing 3 billion YouTube videos every single day, according to Even a former luddite like me is on YouTube watching old music videos, how-to tutorials and cute animal segments.

Which is why I’m looking forward to connecting with everyone on my YouTube channel, where I’ve saved videos I’ve made as well as favorite videos that I watch. The set-up is very social media in its ability to build followers and allow comments.

Of course, I also have a very practical reason for going YouTube. In my new job as a digital journalist, I’m supposed to do everything from reporting and writing stories to blogging, tweeting, taking photos, shooting video and who-knows-what-else. But even though I assured my new bosses that I can handle video, I actually need A LOT more practice at it.  (Oooops, hope they’re not reading this…!)

Thank goodness for the One-to-One trainers at the Apple Store. During our weekly, 50-minute sessions, they showed me how to make videos on my MacBook Pro. I can’t even recall how many times I made those poor instructors explain the iMovie editing program. But I’m making progress! (To read more about how One-to-One works for me, go here.)

Maybe I should stop babbling and just let you watch this thing already. Note: The supporting cast includes Rosebud, the family dog. I dragged her in front of the camera for moral support. Okay. Ready?

So how’d I do? Didja “like” it or “share” it?  ~_~

Now that I’m not teaching college classes anymore, I can see myself posting some videos on reporting and writing. I’ve also gotten requests for cooking videos, especially after a former student did one of me making my Asian-inspired brown rice crispie treats for

And now, what about you?

  • To get you thinking, Mashable.con has an excellent post: “YouTube in 2011: How Its Busy Year Affects You.” This rather long, comprehensive piece offers a rundown of latest YouTube developments and stats, as well as links to 2011’s most popular YouTube videos in various categories.
  • If that post feels too techno, I have a simple, introductory post that I wrote last semester for my students. It gives a pretty clear presentation on what YouTube offers.  :)


Comments 20

  1. ‎’LOVE IT! Anne Lamott is a favorite of mine as well. ‘Look forward to more of you on YouTube … you’re a natural! ‘Excited to think of what we will all create in 2012 @–>—

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    thank you, rose! my next video is one of those talking head “about me” segments. it’s the kind that the pros are recommending that bloggers start posting on their home pages. the thinking is that people need to know what i’m really like. and that “bird by bird” passage is so great. there are times when i’m stressed or frustrated and i just stop — to tell myself, “bird by bird, bird by bird.” another mantra from my life.

  3. Oh. My. God. Betty thank you so much for this post! I always remember “bird by bird” because you’d shared that passage in your class with us. What a comfort.

    You have great energy in your video presence, and you look beautiful. The blown kiss at the end was a fabulous touch, and the page-turn transition was perfect for so many reasons. (I enjoyed the writing metaphor, but it was also timed perfectly and just visually worked really well.) Congrats on an awesome YouTube video!

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      laura, are you in india right now? isn’t THE INTERNET FABULOUS??? isn’t it wonderful that we met in a manhattan classroom but we can still touch each other?! your feedback means a lot, esp since you have such extensive filmmaking experience. honey, i caked on the makeup; clearly the effort made a difference. and i’ll be sure to let my one-to-one trainers know that you are pleased with the transition choice — they had to show me how to do it. the imovie software is actually SO EASY to use. it’s a question of practice and remembering where to go to do different editing things. i hope that i’ll get comfortable enough to learn final cut pro at some point. thanks again and big hug to you.

  4. Excellent! The only useful philosophical advice in life, I think, is that which is simple and directly applicable. Spare me the Kants and the Wittgensteins and so on, with their endlessly ponderous volumes of impenetrable imponderables. I had far more useful advice from my grandmother’s aphorisms. “One bird at a time,” is a good example. Among my favorites was her reflection on building an outhouse: (Grandmother recalled the pre-indoor plumbing era in the country)
    She said “about the hole – dig her deep and dig her wide because you don’t want the disconcerting feeling stealing over you that sooner or later you’re going to have to get down there and dig it again. It’s a mighty sight better to have a little privy over a big hole, than a big privy over a little hole,” advice that can be translated into a great many situations in life, I think. Grandmother was quoting Chick Sales, BTW, a rustic comedian of the 1920s.
    Now, about the Youtube video – a good start I’d say. I trust that you will move forward as regards production values. I advise against the dog. A standard cautionary embraced by all vaudeville performers was avoid animals and children on-stage. They invariably up-stage the headliners. Of course in this case that is mitigated by the fact that we only saw the top of the dog’s head. It reminded me of a friend – a puppeteer who, years ago, was excited by getting a job in a Sesame Street production. Unfortunately he found he was cast as a shrub. Well, it was a beginning. He ended up as a professor of theater arts so maybe. the dog’s career will likewise blossom in time. Anyway, perhaps next time you could try a staircase number – a la Ziegfield. A beautiful woman promenading gracefully down an elegant staircase in a gorgeous gown with, say “A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody” as background music (in this case, while reciting advice for life) is always an audience pleaser. You can never go wrong amping the production values.

  5. Thanks. That was just the advice I needed this morning. Bird by bird and not be put off by thinking about the enormity of the whole task. Look forward to your next video….

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    toby, your honesty is always welcome. i actually have several party dresses that have been hanging forlornly in the closet for the last few years. time to dig them out and have some fun! if you can come up with a catchy outhouse mantra, i will recite that going down a stairway. and i will lose the dog as co-star; she deserves some videos of her own.

    jenni, thank you, thank you!! as a doer, i know you can really appreciate the message to slow down. a moment at a time. being in the moment is the way to go today & everyday. :)

    well, i’m getting ready to head out the door. will be back much later. but hope you’ll all keep chatting. thanks for visiting! xo

  7. Betty: What a great way to start 20012. My “to-do” list is pages long and I wonder how I will meet all my goals but bird-by-bird inspires as do you, giving hope to me that I can master all the technology!

  8. Betty,

    I just love it! I remember that you gave me “Bird by Bird” many years ago, and I loved it. In fact, your post reminded me to assign it to my Feature Writing class this year. Thanks so much, and good luck in the exciting, new gig.

  9. I loved it! But, unfortunately, I think the dog stole the show :) Looking forward to watching many more of your creations in 2012 and beyond!

  10. Hello Betty, I am so amazed that you quoted today a book that I love, that I gave before as a gift and that I re-read often. It is a great quote. thanks for that, I needed it exactly now. You did perfect with the video thing. Congratulations.

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    mary, i’ve got more to say about decluttering. look for it in my thursday post. i’ll mention now — you know that online “get organized” class that i took? one of the takeaways was to break down the to-do list. don’t list more than 10 items a day or else the doing part becomes overwhelming.

    patty, you remembered! i never thought to assign “bird by bird” for a feature writing class. but of course, it makes perfect sense. it would also be good for a memoir-writing class because it’s so personal.

    and taylor, you and toby are so honest. on the plus side, the dog got everyone’s attention. but on the negative side, the dog is much cuter than i’ll ever be. done. no more dog!

    isabelle, it’s amazing how many artists vibe with this book. anne lamott’s writing is so honest, so THERE. thanks for dropping by; really nice to hear from you. :)

  12. Yes, I had the privilege of reading that book for one of my graduate classes and we sure did a lot of writing in graduate school so it came in handy! You did very well with your video and I’m quite sure you will be spectacular in your new job.

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    Sandy, thanks for mentioning that you read this book in class — helpful info for patty and other teachers!

    as for my new job, thanks also for the vote of confidence. today was my first full day of work the newsroom. it was an exciting but overwhelming day of learning a new corporate culture along with its technology. i’m also wondering how working parents do it….how do commute to the job, work all day for five days a week — and then come home every night to make some sort of decent dinner? not to mention steal a few moments to unwind?

  14. Betty, terrific job, I’m really impressed. I didn’t mind the dog at all, by the way, it was a nice touch. You look fantastic and your delivery was good too. If you pause at the end of your video, you’ll be able to trim off the piece where you reach for the control, it’s neater without that bit. I hope you’ll do many more.

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