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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.

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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. :)

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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

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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:

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I’ll be honest, a big reason I wanted to be involved with “The Tastemaker” is that I was really drawn to the 2nd challenge, which contestants are taking on right now. Education is very important to me. My mom is a coordinator for children with special needs so I was lucky enough to grow up in an environment where learning was supported, nurtured and well, cool! While we have so many tools today that allow anyone to do anything and really manifest their destiny in so many ways without a formal education, we can’t forget the importance of knowledge and curiosity. That’s something that begins not only at home but at school.

For the 2nd challenge, we have teamed up with the “Get Schooled” campaign.  With assistance from Viacom and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the “Get Schooled” campaign is working to engage and empower Americans to help improve high school graduation rates, improve college readiness and raise college completion rates. Each team of two has been given the task to create a PSA and urge their fans to create and upload their own as well. They were also given a director’s toolkit including graphics and celeb messages from Fantasia, Ludacris and Shaq to include in their videos. The winning PSA will not only appear on the show but on MTV. I have to say, I’m impressed with what each team produced. Watch the episode below and be inspired to submit your own video too by Tuesday Oct. 5th at midnight!

<br/><a href="http://tastemaker.msn.com/?vid=ca7428c3-ed53-4b6e-87fe-0c19f49559ec&#038;fg=sharenoembed" target="_new"title="The Tastemaker - Episode 6">Video: The Tastemaker &#8211; Episode 6</a>

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I couldn’t be more honored and excited to be hosting a live-stream at the White House this coming Friday with Arne Duncan, The Secretary of Education. The chat will be hosted live on MSN.com and WhiteHouse.Gov- submit your questions now RIGHT HERE.

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