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An Ingenious Way to Solicit Community Contributions, or, How to Replace the Screen for an Asus Laptop UL50AG

by Tom Johnson on Jun 1, 2012 •
categories: technical-writing

Last week one of my kids broke my ASUS laptop screen (she closed it while something was caught in the lid). At first I thought it would be the end of life for my laptop, but then I found that replacing a laptop screen was somewhat inexpensive (about $75 + shipping) and easy (according to this video). So I ordered a new screen from After my order shipped, I also received this curious email from the company.

The email said that I would receive $30 instantly back from my purchase if I were to make a detailed video about how to install the new screen. The video had to be less than 10 minutes, and I had to post it to Youtube. If I posted to Vimeo as well, I would receive an additional $5. As far as guidelines for the video, they asked me to be specific with the the title, to include their company name in the description, to avoid using any music, to use good lighting, and to keep the camera still.

Their challenge intrigued me. Although I don't make hardware-replacement type videos, I wanted the $35 back and decided to give it a try. Here's my video:

Here's the same video in Vimeo.

It's not that exciting, but if you had an ASUS UL50AG model laptop and needed to replace the screen, I bet you would watch all 9 minutes of the video.

The kickback idea from is rather ingenious, I think. First, it would be nearly impossible for any company to provide support on how to replace a laptop screen for the hundreds of different laptop brands and models.

Second, even if they could provide written instructions, most users are probably uncomfortable with the task and would gain more confidence in watching a video taken by a regular user (rather than a professional) in a home setting showing how to do it.

Third, all the links pointing back to are clever and legit SEO.

I don't know if my video will meet the requirements they listed -- there are a few guest appearances from Lucy, who broke the screen in the first place. And I started out using a screwdriver that was too big (I didn't make a practice run or anything before replacing the screen). But I think it's good enough for Youtube.

Also, I had been looking for some good video editing software for HD .MOV files for my Kodak Zi8 anyway, and Vegas Movie Studio HD worked pretty well. They also have an amazing starter tutorial, but I'll have to cover that in another post.

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer / API doc specialist based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.