Mobile video is any form of commercially or privately produced video content displayed on mobile digital platforms. In this research case, the role of mobile video in student demonstrations globally is discussed. Additionally, it covers how mobile video is being used, how protesters bypass government restrictions on social media, types of the most popular content, and the latest developments in mobile video advertising.
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In student demonstrations globally, the function of mobile video is seen as “a high-tech response to a high-stress situation” (Chan para. 1). For instance, in Hong Kong, young protesters, mainly students, with smartphones could swiftly communicate and share mobile messages, including voices and videos, due to high Internet speed and wide coverage of mobile networks. Protesters relied on mobile videos to share images and live events through chat apps, such as Firechat, WhatsApp, and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. However, the Chinese government blocked most of these apps in mainland China. Further, it was possible for thousands of protesters to heed mobile video messages immediately posted online and use them to organize protests across major streets, leaving police officers confused and outnumbered. Research has documented the role of the camera, and lately, mobile video, in protests (Meyer para. 1).
“Just watch this video, and it speaks for itself. It tells you all you need to know about these protests”, said Johnston, as quoted by Meyer in the last paragraph. From this perspective, one of the elements that are not the same is how much media attention is now attached to the current student protests globally. It is observed that media attention both bears the impact of making it appear as if there is more happening and perhaps has the impact of making it be the perceived situation (Meyer para. 12). A cellphone is an important tool in these protests. Further, student protesters have mastered the art of live streaming of events and use languages that strive to appeal to the intended audience. Social media are self-aggrandizing, and videos tend to get the attention of many. As a result, viewers tend to make an extremely big deal about them. That is, the videos or pictures speak for themselves.
Not many people now really believe news programs they watch on TV anymore, according to Gloria Cheung, 23, who was managing the Facebook page during the Hong Kong protest (Chan para. 8). In this case, mobile video acted as the major source of news for protesters with live videos and images. In mainland China, the Chinese government embarked on Internet censorship to curb the spread of news, mainly videos, and pictures. Nonetheless, protesters have developed ways to circumvent government shutdowns of social media. As history indicates, the Internet dissident in China is obvious. Still, this censorship is not foolproof, and users have circumvented it to spread vital information during protests to intended recipients. In China, Twitter boasts of limited mainland users relative to Weibo. However, Twitter stood out as the major platform of virtual space for Hong Kong protesters and the Chinese dissident community. Users can bypass over the firewall through “proxy servers and virtual private networks” (Parker para. 8).
In addition, when the Chinese government blocked these Internet platforms, the new hacktivist groups emerged to circumvent the Great Firewall of China by developing online portals to help protesters to follow protest areas, plan for logistics, and offer video streams. Chinese users of social media who were deprived of the news eventually found other ways to engage protesters. For instance, behind the Chinese firewall, users can manipulate automatic filters by deliberately “misspelling words or writing in code” (Parker para. 8). For instance, rather than typing the actual date of the Tiananmen crackdown, Internet users would type ‘May 35’, but censorship had to adjust fast. Internet users in mainland China expressed their supports for Hong Kong student protesters by wide sharing of umbrella images to represent a tool for protection against tear gas. Thus, within few days, users across the world learned that an umbrella was a sign of solidarity with the Hong Kong protesters.
According to data from Statista, in 2015, the most popular mobile video content was music video (49%), viral video or funny short video clips (49%), movie trailer (41%), tutorial or how-to video (29%), sports (29%), advertising or commercial (27%), news (27%), and TV show (23%). These contents were viewed using smartphones and tablet devices (Marshall para. 1). Additionally, notable emerging developments in mobile video advertising have been identified. The mobile video advertising landscape is evolving, advancing, and expanding. Consequently, hyper-targeting has become the norm. Further, marketers are more concerned about delivering personalized ads and video optimization for various platforms for better performance and increased reach. Additionally, advertising using video apps would increase as developers launch new apps. Finally, increased return on investment (ROI) is noted due to the growing cost per installation and acquisition rates. Advertisers are more concerned about relevant targets for optimal gains.
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