Live video is going to be huge

A couple of things I’ve been wanting to write about lately, a quick note before running to work.  First, this morning I read on that both On2 (the video transcoding service we use at SplashCast) and Akamai (huge content delivery network for video) are coming out with live streaming video services.   I gotta cheer for the little upstart groundbreakers like UStream but this is exciting stuff.  Video on the web, one of the most compelling types of media being published, will no longer by exclusively asynchronous.  Have you seen my favorite podcasts in the player on the sidebar of this blog?  Make those all live broadcasts and I will gladly watch one or two minutes of commercials every 15 minutes.  The barrier to entry into the video publishing world has been lowered dramatically and when live video broadcast is easily accessible then we are going to see some thrilling stuff.

One of the most compelling parts of the live video world for me is the roll of widgets.  Live video players can be embedded on any site around the web.  That means if something really exciting is being broadcast, it can spread across countless points of distribution quickly.  Imagine what kind of live broadcasts you might see having their embed code copied onto more and more MySpace or Facebook user profiles in real time.  That has the potential to move masses of people politically.  I’m sure there’s some net neutrality issues here, too.

Embedded here is the BlueFox TV channel on Ustream. It appears to be one of the more regularly live channels on the site. It’s not terribly exciting in the first few minutes I’m watching it, but it’s good for a proof of concept. Neither the video nor the audio are streaming well enough for me over my EVDO connection. The medium is obviously in its infancy, but I think the potential is clear. Try viewing the most recent episodes of Democracy Now in my sidebar here and imagine if that was being broadcast live.

I would love to produce live video.  I don’t know if I’d rather do live news coverage, web 2.0 tutorials or both.  Imagine being able to afford a team of researchers and technical producers.  That’s pretty much what you’d need to have a steady flow of interesting content instead of a lot of video of some person sitting in front of a computer. Really robust text chat and good integration of archived content perhaps between live broadcasts are other things I’ll be watching for. There are some really powerful possibilities.  Just something I’ve been getting excited thinking about lately.

Thoughts on How and Why to Tag Videos

I put up a long post at SplashCast this morning about how and why to tag video files. This is exactly the kind of thing I like to explore, make use of and write about. It’s got a chart, everybody loves charts. I’ll put the chart and the reasons why that I included in the post here but here’s the link to the full post. If you want to help it reach a larger audience on Digg, it’s doing pretty well so far but could use a hand getting over the hump.

Wanted to share this one here because I know some of you who read this blog don’t read the SplashCast blog, but this was one of my favorite posts that I’ve put up there in awhile. It’s even got a chart in it – everyone loves charts.

Why Would I Want to Tag Videos?

Here’s three reasons why you might want to tag videos in particular:

1. Personal Consumption You can tag videos into an RSS feed of your own creation, which in the best of situations can then be sent into media tools like iTunes, SplashCast and others. I’ve subscribed to the RSS feed in for videos tagged web2.0 (in this case by myself or other users) and now I can watch them (format permitting, no .wmv) on my iPod. Sweet. I could also create a SplashCast show with this feed and watch it in a feed reader or start page.

2. Sharing With Others Why not create your own video highlights channel to share with your students if you’re a teacher, in your blog sidebar so your viewers can see your favorites (see the top of NewTeeVee, for example, where they use VodPod) or as part of a collaboratively edited news feed like one part of the nonprofit tech community does.

3. Because It’s a Good Idea Who knows what will come next from the innovative people who play with, create and build upon web applications? Video is important, and if you can assign your favorite videos URLs that you can easily access later and distribute by RSS feed now – that’s an unconditional good that will pay off even more in the future than it can today. It’s something like data backup, info asset export, knowing how much money you have in the bank, etc. If you work on the web, then the videos you watch now will be valuable to you later – so tag them!

If you want to give it some love on the way to the full post, go here.

Thoughts on MySpace Acquisition of Photobucket

If you believe the reports that MySpace (Fox Interactive Media) is acquiring Photobucket (apparently first written about at Valleywag, to whom congrats are thus due. Now TechCrunch says it’s confirmed) there’s a couple take aways that come to my mind. (This wouldn’t be the first time Valleywag wasn’t quite right on timing, but really – it’s not a bad source.)

The primary takeaway is that the recent peace found between MySpace and Photobucket was obviously not a sign that MySpace is any more open than before to third party services thriving in their ecosystem.  They just bought the biggest one, bringing it in house.  You have to wonder whether Photobucket’s valuation was hosed minus MySpace anyway, I suppose. They were presumably bought for both their huge userbase and their innovative technology (see this TC story, for example.)

I often remind people that MySpace is more open to third party widgets than many other hosted social networking or blogging services.  Disabling outbound links in Flash media and freaking out if said widgets are monetized in any way, though, is a real loss.  If MySpace allowed other companies to monetize their monstrous traffic, perhaps just taking a cut, then the whole market would see far more innovation than it does today or is likely to given the people and adspace hording by MySpace.

No one company can be all things to all people and they shoot their own long term growth in the foot by failing to support the growth of ancillary services.  There has got to be a way to turn what they see now as a parasitic relationship into a symbiotic one.  They probably don’t get that though and will suffer for their hubris against the spirit of new social media.

I was excited when eBay bought StumbleUpon, but this acquisition today just seems sad to me.

Since the first Photobucket video I grabbed off the site contains an obviously copyrighted song, it also makes me wonder whether Photobucket is about to face some serious lawsuits just like YouTube does now that it’s been acquired by someone with money.

How to Create RSS Feeds for Your Organization

A wonderful friend in the nonprofit tech world emailed me this afternoon and asked how I would recommend organizations create RSS feeds for their news or news related to their topic of interest. Preferrably quick, dirty, cheap or free. Get that feed out the door. Here (after the more link) is the email I sent her, in case it’s of use to you. I wrote it very quickly, but I figure it works for now. Feel free to share your thoughts in comments.
Continue reading “How to Create RSS Feeds for Your Organization”

I’m Going to Be on Bob Parson’s Show Tonight

Life Online with Bob Parsons, the founder of Go Daddy, is a weekly live audio show on the web that’s also podcast. I’ll be the first guest tonight at 7PM PST to talk about SplashCast.

Update: Well, it ended up being prerecorded and less than fascinating. Believe it or not, sales pitches aren’t my favorite thing to do. We didn’t exactly talk about any burning issues or deeper questions. Oh well, hopefully people listen to the show and will check out SplashCast. I’m reminded again, as I was at the advertising conference I was at in SF yesterday – that engagement in social media, concerning matters of social interest or importance, is a much more fullfilling method of promoting a company than broadcasting sales messages. We’re engagers at SplashCast and I like that. Oh well!