"Spend less time being interesting and more time being interested in people and the world" - Shira

Shira’s Posts

Get Ready For The 2012 Oscar Digital Experience!

I couldn't be more excited to be joining The Academy and ABC once again as host of their digital experience for the 84th Academy Awards. This year, we're adding another component to the online experience- What's Trending will be producing "Oscar Dailies" livestreams and specials leading up to Hollywood's biggest night.

It all starts on Tuesday from noon-1pm pt with a nominations special livestream. An all-star lineup of film critics and personalities will join us in studio and over Skype to look at the nominees announced that morning. We will then be airing special panels every week after that with Oscar winning actors, directors and producers to discuss their favorite movie moments and what it was like to take home the statue.

For more go to Oscar.com and follow us @WhatsTrending and @TheAcademy for updates.

In light of awards season, we decided to do a very special Partners Project highlighting the top filmmakers on YouTube to look out for in 2012:

Top 5 Things I Learned From YouTube in 2011

Wow! It's been a while since I've updated my personal blog. To be honest, I've been busy building WhatsTrending.com, which I am constantly updating with daily content. So if you want more, then that's typically the place to find it too.

I couldn't be more excited about jumping into a new year. 2011 was filled with many firsts and I'm ready to head into 2012 with many lessons learned, and to aggressively build and grow what was started. I've been reading the Steve Jobs biography during my holiday break, and I feel empowered and inspired myself to say the least by many of his philosophies and maxims including (no, I'm not a vegan and go around barefoot but this statement deserves an entire other post later):

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it"- Alan Kay

I've also been busy building Partners Project. Over the past year we've interviewed over 50 YouTubers (some of us refer to them as YouTube stars) who are creating careers for themselves using the platform. These individuals continue to inspire me every day that it's possible to create, own your audience and content, and make a real living while doing it. These individuals are creating new business models that will empower an entire new generation of artists and creators. It's an exciting time! We've also seen the entertainment industry embrace the powers of YouTube in 2011, and acknowledge it as a platform for more than just cat and baby viral videos. They also invested over 100 million in premium content channels we'll begin seeing being rolled out  in the next year. With the relaunch of Google TV in 2012, it'll be interesting to see how those channels are used to become next networks and brands.

My team and I compiled a fun video looking back at everything we learned from YouTube in 2011 including moments from many of our interviews- enjoy and happy 2012!

Great reads for this Lazy Sunday

I was catching up on a bunch of great posts today. So instead of promoting each one separately, I decided to post a Sunday roundup of great reads you can enjoy too. Feel free to add your own in the comments. I'm thinking of doing this weekly on my personal blog. Enjoy! 🙂

1) How Entrepreneurs Can Create Their Own Luck by James Altucher

A great post on lessons learned as an entrepreneur, quick and insightful advice on how to raise money, build valuable relationships and sell your company.

2)  Internet freedom initiative mere lip service? by Jillian C. York

An interesting look at how many countries continue to censor and imprison journalists and bloggers for speaking out online. While many around the world seem to be listening, action must be taken to make a real difference.

3) An Oral History of 'Ms.' Magazine by Abigail Pogrebin

40 years after the iconic Ms. Magazine hit newstands, New York Magazine gives us a look at the leaders behind the movement. Co-founders Gloria Steinem and Jane O'Reilly share an inspiring and historic oral history.

4) How the Hashtag Became a Campaign Battleground by Nancy Scola

A really interesting look at the art of the hashtag in politics and how it's not dumbing down the conversation but advancing it-- and even adding some fun!

5) Why Kim Kardashian's Divorce is Good for America- and Women by Jennifer L. Pozner

For all the jokes and outright anger around the Kim Kardashian/Kris Humphries saga, this post offers a pretty different and interesting angle to the story and its overall cultural impact.

Do Lectures and Bloomberg

I had the opportunity to speak at the first ever US Do Lectures this past weekend where I spoke about curiosity, creativity and the YouTube DIY movement. It was an incredible and awakening experience to say the least. I have an entire behind the scenes vlog I shot that will be posted shortly. In the meantime, here's a segment produced by Bloomberg who covered this very special meetings of the minds:

Join the debate: Are you over the term "Web TV"?

I was waiting for a flight to Vancouver for Launch Party at the Grow Conference when I got an email asking me to edit a recent post on WhatsTrending.com. They wanted me to take out "web series" and replace the writeup with the term "original series". It made sense to me , considering that it's been a stance we've taken with a lot of our online content including, What's Trending.

We never looked at it as a "web series". I've always described it as a broadcast quality show (some might refer that to a TV show) with the authenticity and interactivity of the web. Why alienate content as just being on the web? The fact is all content this day in age and even more so in the future will be available everywhere (mobile, tablet, laptop, tv screen, etc)- the creative around the content is what will be different. Will it look like a vlog, film, tv quality? We've also seen that there's a pre-conceived notion around calling a series a "web show". It's just the reality of the situation.

Wilson Cleveland wrote a Tumblr post about that (link is below), giving his grandmother's friends a link to his "original series" and another group a link to his "web show". Which do you think had the most click-thrus? As much as the web have been a democratizing and liberating platform, as content creators we need to get ourselves outside of the web box. It's not about trying to reach for TV, it's just about giving digital video content the value it deserves for advertisers, viewers and ultimately ourselves.

Read the responses below from my tweet. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Los Angeles Facebook Journalism Meetup

Yesterday, I was on a panel for the first Facebook Journalism Meetup in Los Angeles hosted by FB's Vadim Lavrusik. It was a nice change of pace in terms of meetups in Hollywood, which are typically around social media or entertainment. I could be generalizing, but it typically seems like New York, DC and possibly even San Francisco have a stronger journalism and media community. I was joined on the panel by The Daily's Hunter Walker, LA Times' social media and engagement editor Martin Beck and NBC LA's Mekahlo Medina . Here are some great quotes I pulled from the Twitter feed. You can watch a recording of the livestream and read Vadim's really informative presentation around Facebook stats and how to better use the platform as a journalist and new organization at Facebook.com/journalists.

An inside look at "What's Trending" in my head and life recently

Wow- I haven't updated my personal blog in a LONG time, which sometimes bothers me considering I constantly preach about blogging, maintaining your "brand" and what you love doing by being consistent. I guess that's what my Twitter feed is for these days.

Stan "The Man" Lee on set of What's Trending

So... what has been going on?

I've been busy launching What's Trending sponsored by AT&T, a daily blog and weekly live show I host and EP along with Damon Berger through our company Disrupt Group. Unlike other productions I've been a part of, this one has very much been like starting my own business-- dealing with everything from office upkeep to overseeing our great employees. It's something I've never really done, but it makes me have even more respect for all my friends and those I look up to who are incredible entrepreneurs.

Since launching, the traffic and social engagement around What's Trending has continued to grow with some great wins. Our interview with Lupe Fiasco during the live show where he says, "Obama is the biggest terrorist in America", created a tidal wave of attention. Everyone picked it up from Billboard.com, ETonline, EOnline, MTV.com and beyond. Bill O'reilly even invited Fiasco on for a followup interview-- or in O'Reilly's case a confrontation. With every mention of the story, there was our video.

Another fun win was when Bieber himself tweeted and Facebook'd our Innovator segment, showcasing Adam Braun and his non-profit Pencils of Promise. It's fun to see our content getting noticed and move beyond the tech or social media bubble, which is why our team works as hard as we do.

On set with Chris Sacca and Lisa Bettany

I've learned a lot in the process of creating this show and blog from scratch. I remind myself and the team constantly about our goal to not just report news, but make news. It's definitely a balance though that the entire industry is trying to figure out. We all know that writing about something when it's hot or trending will drive external traffic to a site, it's not rocket science. But, the true value of a product, brand, publication long term will always come from being truly original and authentic. Finding that angle or nugget as we like to call it is essential. For us, we try to filter the news and stories through the lens of social media and the digital perspective. What's the social data that we can find around this story or can we get an exclusive interview with someone who is part of this trend. I like to say we're the talk show for the Facebook generation (some geeks say that we should upgrade that to Google+ now, but you get the gist). But in the end no matter how digitally evolved a show or organization is, something that is sharable needs to create an emotion of some sort or that aha moment. I like to go back to what my friend and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh reminds himself of when he tweets- does this inspire, connect, entertain or educate?

Our live show has allowed us to do that by having some incredible guests giving their insights on the big trending stories. We've had the opportunity to have influencers and celebs in studio including Chris Hardwick, Drew Carey, Greg Grunberg, Zachary Levi, Jason Pollock, Stan Lee, Lisa Kudrow, iJustine, Alex Albrecht, Talib Kweli, Paul Feig, Kevin Smith, Tony Hsieh, Josh Malina, Kevin Pereira, Lisa Bettany and many more.

Over Skype, we're also able to bring people into our "Real Time Conversation" who happen to be at source of these stories- from 17-year old Devon Hicks who started #ItsOkToSayGay, to BitCoin expect Jeff Garzik who discussed the future of money and DC Comics legend, Jim Lee.

Shout out to Column Five who produces our incredible weekly info graphic animated videos that have been picked up by Washington Post and Mashable among other sites.

We've also been able to use our beautiful space and studio in Hollywood for events like Mashable's Social Media Day in July. I really hope that it continues to be a creative environment for mixers and incubator meetups where the tech and entertainment communities can socialize and learn from each other. We're also working to possibly start inviting audience members and friends on set during the live show too. Our green room has already become a meeting place for friends and industry folk on Tuesdays who stop by to watch the show. (If you ever want to stop by, just let me know!)

So that's what I've been coordinating every day since we launched our blog April 17th. Read the latest piece by Steve Rosenbaum about "What's Trending" on Huffington Post.

Oh yeah, and one more thing. I have a really fun show called, Partners Project, that we've been maintaining weekly with the help of my other awesome producer, Christian Bretz. We describe it as the "inside the actors studio for YouTube stars". Thanks to a sponsorship with Lynda.com we're continuing to grow and tell the stories of more inspiring content creators who are making a living on YouTube and owning their audience. This week, we'll be the official video producers of Vidcon, which I like to say is like Comicon for YouTubers.

We're all working hard to create-- and maintain-- unique and original digital experiences that make people understand more about those stories or personalities they might see pop up quickly in their feed, that are a burgeoning part of their online life. The next big challenge is how we can grow those conversations offline and on as many screens as we can.

There goes my long rant for today. Hopefully, I can start doing these more consistently (maybe even vlogging a bit again) so it doesn't feel like one long venting to an old friend. 🙂

From "On The Scene" to "What's Trending"

I've been blogging and vlogging at CBSNews.com since September 2009.

Most of the time it was just me and my flipcam. My blog, On The Scene, gave me the opportunity to bring you on the scene quite literally with news makers and online influencers.

I got to interview everyone from Jamie Oliver, Demi Moore to Twitter founder Biz Stone and viral stars like Antoine Dodson and the infamous "Double Rainbow" man.

In the midst of it all, I began developing more of a show around the blog content I was doing called "What's Trending".

The idea was that it would be a live interactive show and blog that allowed me to take on everything from Internet memes to politics and pop culture.

A year and a half later, you can see the result of that HERE. The product doesn't just include me either. I have an amazing team who keep the blog and show running 24/7.

Of course, there's always you who inspire our stories, and us to push boundaries, listen and share. So thank you! I couldn't be more excited about this new adventure- I hope you are too.

Here are some great recent press clips about the show- enjoy!

Gigaom - What's Trending: A Sneak Peek at CBS News' Social News Experiment

The Rise of participative TV (hint: that's better than social TV)

Social Times  - Shira Lazar On Her New Live Interactive Show 'What's Trending'

Tubefilter - 'What's Trending', CBS News' Latest is More Than a Web Show

Lost Remote - CBSNews.com to debut social show 'What's Trending'

The Montreal Gazette - Westmount's Shira Lazar gets new show

LA Weekly - Shira Lazar Discusses Her New Show What's Trending, Daniel Tosh and Arianna Huffington

Variety - CBS News launches "What's Trending"

Editorsweblog.org - CBS's new social media-powered TV show goes on air

Fishbowl LA - From Hollywood, CBSNews.com taps into 'What's Trending'

BusinessInsider.com - CBSNews.com launches weekly webshow with Shira Lazar

Luxury Report Magazine

Thanks to Luxury Report Magazine in my hometown of Montreal for this lovely cover and article! Click the pic to read!

Live on CNBC and more!

I haven't updated since SXSW, but that's only because I've been in crazy pre-production on an exciting new project that I can talk more about on Tuesday (sorry for the tease!). In the meantime, I stopped by CNBC last week for a quick hit on more Apple TV speculations. Watch the video below: