- 3G/HSDPA mobile phone broadband
- A mobile/cell phone with a 2+ megapixel camera
- Installed software and an account with qik.com or similar
- An eye for something interesting to shoot
- Bring ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
- Mix and set aside for just a few years (to let every the technology and adoption rates reach, say, every second person with a mobile phone).
- Take small fistfuls of mixture at a time, shaping each into a mobile phone
- Distribute around the Western world, India, China, etc
- Serve most liberally in cities (like LA) where the traditional media is most concentrated… watch them weep as they’re always beaten to the “scene” by citizens with cell phones, uploading live to ustream, qik, and soon youtube (of course!).
Imagine the earthquake in China this week. Imagine the same event in just a few years time, when cell phone usage is so ubiquitous, along with 3G/HSDPA and live streaming video functionality…
Imagine emergency workers digging like crazy trying to find survivors. Now, assuming the cell network is not destroyed, what if trapped survivors have videos and can broadcast their location and surrounds. One of the big issues with digging people out is not just finding them but assessing their conditions properly, and not risking the lives of the emergency crews too.
Or imagine that police bashing that was caught on camera by a helicopter TV crew earlier in the week (or was it last week?). Imagine the same event, but the footage is picked up by half-a-dozen onlookers, livecasting from their mobile phones.
Now, there’s no way qik won’t get bought out soon enough by (probably) Google, or possibly Facebook. Certainly Scoble is talking it up, Arrington uses it, and lots of people are having fun with it. It would make a powerful addition to the YouTube “arsenal“.
(Meanwhile, I’m sooking coz qik is only a Nokia S60 think at the moment, and I’m WM6. Sob.)
I have no idea where this livecasting thing is going to take us, but it’s very exciting. I am especially excited because I have always felt that, as passionate as I am about writing, the QWERTY keyboard has had a lot to answer for in terms of the way it has made blogging hard(er) for many people – myself included.
But now, if communicating by video becomes as simple and as seamless as making a phone call or sending an SMS, then we’re going to see a revolution. And not just communicating by video, but publishing by video… the livecasting way.
Anyway, for what it’s worth, here’s why I’d love to see Facebook buy and “integrate” qik, or a similar service.
Chamath Palihapitiya, vice president of product marketing, described Facebook as “the next-generation platform of the Internet that can turn any ambitious entrepreneur (with the right application) into an overnight success.” He was of course talking about application developers building Facebook apps.
Now, if you do the research and read the stats, you’ll see that the most successful apps on Facebook are those which provide functionality and features which are the most natural “fit” for the Facebook “DNA”, which is all about social activity. That’s because Facebook is a social platform: it’s the platform and the plumbing to allow people to socialize, commune, share, interact, befriend and otherwise participate together online.
However, to my mind, so much of what happens on Facebook right now is, as I’ve already said, limited by the QWERTY keyboard. We send messages, write on walls, poke and pinch and punch and throw sheep, we mark up photos, we play Scrabble, we comment on things, and we add things (lots of things!). All very text-heavy and keyboard-heavy.
When vision catches up to text…
So imagine for a moment what the next few years are going to bring, if livestreaming is in the middle of it. Imagine a Facebook “social world” where vision is at least as easy to communicate via, as text.
Imagine Facebook where 50% of all user activity is via vision, not text. Or at the least, where both work hand-in-hand. Imagine a “default” setup for things on Facebook where it is assumed you’re on camera, as are the other participants.
Imagine if the messaging section of Facebook defaulted to video, because people find it easier to talk than type?! Of course, I can think of a lot of women (especially) who need two minutes of make-up time for every minute on camera, if they can bear to be in front of it at all… but we won’t go there!
It seems to me every 2nd city in the English speaking world has a TV station which calls it’s 6:00pm newcast “Eyewitness News”. The implication is, they were there and you weren’t. But what if you were?! What if no matter what they’re screening, someone else got there earlier, took better footage, and was on the inside of the story, with access the journalist can’t or won’t get?!
Television newsrooms are already relying more and more on cell phone footage for vision. They’re now advertising email addresses so you and I can send in our “eyewitness” mobile camera footage for their use. They can’t stop us recording the stuff and if it’s good they want it!
But we don’t have to give them the video to get it seen! And that’s the point. If you’ve been watching how people are using Twitter, you’ll see that when a big news story breaks (say the China earthquake), people are talking about it on Twitter (i.e. gathering the pieces of the “news story”) well before a word is mentioned on any “real” news network.
Now, of course the written word will never be replaced by video. You could never “digest” video as quickly as you can get through a page full of “tweets”. But that’s not the point.
Make a start!
The point is… actually I’m not sure what the point is. I just know we’re in a very exciting time! We are living in a time of absolutely amazing change, when the humble IP protocol is changing everything.
The one thing I’m sure of is that video won’t kill the Twitter star, and it probably won’t kill the TV News star either. But it will make stars out of a whole new group of people who could never have been “seen” before. It will make you a “star” with a very specific niche following, at least much more easily and effectively than ever before.
The age of the ultra-powerful TV network is almost over, to be replaced by millions of “channels” broadcasting live to small and dedicated followings within small and dedicated “niches”. So go get that 3G cell phone and start messing around with livestreaming. At least start testing vlogging, as I am about to.
(It’s a pathetic start, but I do have a channel on ustream tv.)
<plug> My buddy Eugene is the brains of online video. Check this out. </plug>