2013 DIGIFAM SPEAKER: Betsy Cadel

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This is a series of interviews with the speakers of Digital Family Summit 2013, October 11-13.
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Betsy CadelBetsy Cadel is the founder of Thinking Cap Productions, a full-service video production company which focuses primarily on how-to videos that turn “WTF moments of frustration to OMG moments of elation.” She co-launched Webby nominated Digitwirl.com in 2011. She has written scripts for the eHow series  Socially Connected , teaching everyone from newbies to savvy users about social media platforms.  She’s currently scripting and producing several video projects including a series for HGTV that shows smart, simple, solutions to everyday challenges that everyone can relate to. Her teen son Simon’s burgeoning comedy career has been exciting for both Betsy and her husband, Andy, as they get to spend many Friday and Saturday nights laughing loudly while enjoying their two-drink minimum. They note that neither was the case when Simon played soccer.

 twitter: @thinkingcapny
website: http://www.thinkingcapnyc.com

How did you get involved with blogging?

I started a blog in 2006 when people were still asking “What’s a blog?” I immediately became part of a community of women that felt like “real” friends, and in fact they are, although there are many I’ve never met. That was the magic of blogging. Because of my background as a copywriter in advertising I ended up becoming a writer for sites like coolmompick.com, coolmomtech.com and Mamapop.com. When I connected with Carley Knobloch and we decided to create a website that was video based I jumped at the chance and haven’t looked back. It was called digitwirl.com and getting nominated for a Webby in its first year was one of the biggest thrills of my career. My passion is story telling and teaching so how-to videos became the perfect niche. When I founded my company, Thinking Cap Productions in 2012 I have done everything from full productions to script writing for online series. The newest thing about my social media engagement has become trying to help promote my son, Simon’s, efforts as a stand up comedian without become “that mom.” We’re new to the journey, but that’s what makes it exciting.

What’s your favorite technology to help you blog/write/tweet/edit?

Obviously YouTube is the way Simon gets his name out there. Our biggest piece of advice is to use the tools YouTube provides including annotations, transcripts, and enhancements to make your videos and polished as possible. As a producer I try to help him work with lighting, sound quality and how to promote what he has done.

What blogs do you read regularly?

Facebook and Twitter, as they aren’t just the best way to stay in touch with friends, but they have become my curators of content. Following sites like LifeHacker and Mashable keep me in the loop about tech stuff, and only following those who have similar interests to me means I trust their suggestions.

If you could travel back in time and send yourself a message, what would it be?

The things you think are the worst things to every happen to you usually turn out to be the best. You just can’t see it at the time. 

Any advice for young bloggers?

You have a very limited time to engage a viewer or reader. Make sure you think about what you want to say, do several takes until you get the right one, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money on fancy equipment, but try to work with lighting and sound to make your videos something you’d want to watch. As a how-to video producer I’m a big fan of anyone who can teach me something during the course of a video from how to apply makeup to how to roast a chicken.

What do you think is the greatest opportunity for digital teens today?

Blogging, vlogging and social media have leveled the playing field in every way. Great content is always going to attract a following if you are persistent. If you have a passion or interest then share it. Build your community by commenting on other people’s posts or videos and become active in your own success. Age has absolutely nothing to do with what you can achieve and how far you can go, that’s the beauty of social media and the digital revolution.

What’s the biggest danger facing digital teens & their families today?

Being anonymous makes people feel like they can say anything. It’s really hard to not engage or take things personally, but my best advice is to delete it so you never have to look at it again. There is nothing a bully hates worse than being ignored. For Simon, we have left his comments setting open, although I’d rather he at least moderate them, but at this point it hasn’t been a problem. Unfortunately there will come a time where people will want to put him down and I will remind him that the most successful people in life have their “haters” to thank every bit as much as their supporters.

What are you going to talk about at the conference?

Funny. Business. Simon and I have a lot to say about how stand up, which started out as a quirky interest, has through YouTube, createe the potential of launching a real career. As a mother and son (of a tween) we have a lot of debates of what it means to try to build something from nothing to achieve his goals while being mindful of what those goals actually are. It’s easy to get caught up in trying to get subscribers and hits, but it’s equally important to understand to what end. Right now his videos, though hardly viral, have gotten the attention of important people in the world of stand up comedy which has allowed him to start performing at clubs with adult comedians to being tapped as a potential contestant on the upcoming season of America’s Got Talent. Simon can describe who his influences are and what he’d like to see for himself. I can highlight the “business” end of YouTube including annotations, links, tags and SEO.

What’s next for you after the Digital Family Summit?

Simon will be opening for the Stand Up for Peace comedy event on October 19th at The Purple Crayon in Hastings, NY. It stars two well-known stand up comedians–Dean Obeidallah and Scott Blakeman–each with their own unique take on politics, American and the Middle East in the spirit of The Daily Show. Tickets are available at: http://www.purplecrayoncenter.org/calendar/event/252/.
He will be performing at The Gotham Comedy Club on November 24th at 3pm. And, the audition for America’s Got Talent is on November 17th, cross your fingers, he needs all the luck he can get!




 Adam Gertsacov is the co-founder and co-organizer of Digital Family Summit.  He wears many hats, including those of a professional clown, an author and publisher, an artist/educator, a non-profit administrator, a P.T. Barnum impersonator, a flea circus impresario, and the esteemed hat of the Clown Laureate of Greenbelt, Maryland.  

In his copious freetime, he blogs at http://www.clownlink.com and http://www.dadapalooza.com, as well as a few other places.
You can find out more about his clown work at http://www.acmeclown.com

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