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Chelsey-Marni-Emily-Deborah- & Steve – You are now Louder Than Words TV stars!

August 17, 2009 at 6:45 am


Last week, HCI launched something that’s never been launched before. It’s called Louder Than Words TV and  brainchild of a brainy internet guy, Steve O’Keefe. At 8:00 pm every night last week, we tuned into this live chat/online show which grew from a teen-authored memoir series by the same name. Each night was an excursion into the unknown with varying technology successes and failures. Monday was Louder Than Words series editor Deborah Reber; Tuesday, Marni Bates; Wednesday, Emily Smucker : Thursday, Chelsey Shannon and Friday, Deborah sharing the spotlight with Marni who’s Tuesday night stint had lots of video and audio burps.

I’m happy to report that overall the operation went rather well.

With grace, each teen author held her own for the entire hour at once answering questions from the logged-on audience, talking ad hoc about their lives, and reading from their books. By Wednesday we remembered to have the authors show their books. On Thursday, we suggested that Chelsey slowly hold up her book  after Emily made us a little dizzy on Wednesday sweeping hers across the screen.


The eloquence each young woman displayed was a testimony to their love of language and their expressed talents. The subject matter of the books, Marni, Chelsey and Emily is tough stuff and presenting their stories live would clearly seem to have its challenges. If they did, it was not apparent

Besides the difficult situations portrayed in their books, the common denominator shared by the authors is their desire to positively impact their readers’ lives. Hair pulling, experiencing West Nile virus, or losing a parent to murder may not be mainstream events but whether we directly identify with those things by experience or not, we are inspired by Marni, Emily and Chelsey.


Before bringing them to this live-chat event on the online screen, Deborah Reber did an ace job in locating these talented writers and making their stories come to life on the page. She also kicked off the week of programming with her own wonderful interview.  An accomplished author in her own right, Deborah seems to have direct access to the inside the teens’ heads and bringing out their best.


And, Steve, dear Steve O’Keefe. With nerves of steel he and his team grit their teeth forgetting to breathe sometimes as the Kyte-tv program would cut out every 15 minutes, or sound would go away, or video from the prior evening would pop onto the screen. Yikes! Engineered by this, my favorite internet wizard, Steve repeated during the preparation process the disclaimer that this new leap of technology may or may not work. Although painting a risk-free picture would be the norm for someone providing a service, I really appreciate Steve’s honesty, and because of this I actually worried less.

(In case I didn’t make it clear, this “live chat” event set itself apart from others by being available from multiple locations where the program was embedded. One could watch the program from the Kyte-tv address, Facebook, MySpace, and any blog or online host that signed on.  See article in Publishers Weekly)

So, even though my adult sensibilities had me wincing from time to time at the choppy and unpolished look of the production, the experiment was successful.  When looking at the screen with teen eyes, I realized it was familiarly acceptable. And, now we have this channel to poke and prod and turn into something more. Getting through the week was the main objective. No creative brainstorming was allowed until it was over.

Week one is over for Louder Than Words TV and it’s time for some creativity folks!

We’ll let you know what happens next and invite you to log on and play with us this exciting new game.

Happy Monday. May there be no audio or video glitches in your life.

Comments (1)

1 Comment »


    I’m blushing! Last week, I was just panic stricken. The idea of projecting live TV into multiple fan blogs on this scale was more or less a theory until last week. It is truly something I’ve never heard of anyone doing. Several times in the leadup, I doubted our ability to pull it off.

    I think people should know this series was written, edited, printed and promoted in about half the normal time. Everything about it was fresh. And the plan of letting these young authors speak for themselves fit perfectly with the first series of teen-authored memoirs on the market.

    The week of the lives chats was like a trial by technology: four authors, each with a different computer, camera and Internet connection. We had to make up a chat with Marni because of a bad connection. But the other material, despite the tech trouble, is compelling. And the feeling of being in on some new form of TV is exciting.

    But best of all is that, when the consumer swaps cash for these books, they will be pleased, because Deborah Reber and HCI Books put out a well-edited and important new series of real teens talking about real problems that is changing real lives.

    Comment by STEVE O'KEEFEAugust 17, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

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