Are You A Tech Elitist?

Are *you* a Tech Elitist? If so, how’s that workin’ for ya?

As it’s now Christmas, and we think of The Grinch sitting high on the hill, looking down on all the little people of the village with contempt… Let’s consider our own positions in our respective fields and how we’ve chosen social media sites & groups as well as whom we’ve chosen to affiliate ourselves with.

There was much change during 2007. More ways to communicate. More social sites to join. More video hosts with their own little gimmicks that made them slightly different from the rest. New video editing software. New storage solutions. New live streaming options….

As new opportunities arose, there was a lot of bandwagon-jumping. Sometimes it stuck, sometimes it didn’t. When Twitter was initially unreliable, OFTEN, eventually, Jaiku came along, and there was a mass exodus. The backup plan for when Twitter would go down was for people to immediately start posting on Jaiku until the problem was resolved. Eventually, Twitter became stable, and I didn’t hear a peep about Jaiku for months until they got bought by Google. All of a sudden, here come the Jaiku friend requests.

Even within Twitter, there was bandwagon-jumping. Apps were created so you didn’t have to use the twitter web page with your browser. Some people stuck with them. Some people bailed back to the web site when they realized how many twitter posts the apps weren’t picking up. Eventually, people found found satisfaction in how they received twitter posts. At some point during ’07, Pownce became a player as well.

There was much debate about which status update application was better between the three of them. I ended up sticking with Twitter, and once every so often, I copy/paste redundant posts to Pownce & Jaiku for people that primarily (if not exclusively) use those sites. I’m also biased towards Twitter because I have 341 contacts there vs. 117 on Pownce and 50 on Jaiku, many of which are redundant for the reason I stated earlier. So, for the sake of this post, I’ll say I made the ‘elitist’ decision that Twitter was better for my purposes and essentially neglect the other two services.

On the social site front, I used to have a regular MySpace presence. I had somewhere around 500 “friends” that were rather randomly acquired. What I mean by that is that I had probably 100 contacts that I knew from some other site or forum or that I actually knew IRL and then another 400 or so people/companies that sent me a friends request and then essentially never talked to me “again”. 😀 … “Again” has to be in quotes, because they never TALKED to me the first time. All they did was click a button that sent me a friends request, and I accepted it. I enjoyed interacting with my actual friends on MySpace, but the vast majority of it I found to be utterly worthless. MySpace is fantastic if you’re a musician or an artist, but I didn’t make many new relationships on MySpace that were worth anything.

Eventually, Facebook stepped its game up, and I migrated to “the better site”. Similar to my Twitter bias for status updates, my MySpace dealings dwindled to ZERO. In fact, if someone didn’t have a facebook account, I wouldn’t even bother to look them up on MySpace. 🙂 “Everybody who was anybody” was on Facebook, so there wasn’t any need to ‘waste’ time on other mass social sites. Recently, someone mentioned MySpace to me, and I inadvertently laughed and said something like “You *still* use your MySpace account?” She replied that she interacts with the people that she knows because of business on Facebook, but her IRL friends are all still on MySpace. I hadn’t thought about it before, but as I sit here on my Facebook hill with contempt… I’m now wondering how many of my ACTUAL friends are still down in the MySpace village, having never made the jump to “the better site”.

The reason Facebook is better for me is that I deal with social media every day of the week. Now that I’m thinking about it, for the average joe, MySpace is more than enough, and there’s no reason for them to look for better connectivity to more REAL people. So now I have to consider whether it’s more beneficial to me to move some of my Facebook-time back to MySpace instead of concentrating solely on the site that’s clearly superior for my purposes.

Next, you have video hosts. I use blip.tv because the options and functionalities serve my purposes as I maintain my own video blogs using WordPress, Show-In-A-Box and vPiP. Meanwhile, other people talk into their webcams and post videos to YouTube. I’ve posted a few videos to YouTube for test purposes, but I wasn’t impressed with the video compression quality at the time, I wasn’t impressed with the Terms of Service and I *CERTAINLY* wasn’t impressed with the dimwitted remarks people love to leave in the comments sections.

For those reasons and others, I’ve left YouTube just about completely alone… However, you can’t argue with the numbers of views that people get, assuming they get “featured”. YouTube has become the go-to for people looking for any kind of video under the sun, so just by having your video there, you have more of a chance of it going viral than if you oh-so-elitely plan, film, edit, compress, upload, post, tag and advertise your own videos like I do. 🙂

The question, again, is “How’s that workin’ for ya?”. Fortunately, another 2007 development is TubeMogul which enables you to upload a video once and have it distributed to multiple video sharing sites. TubeMogul also tracks statistics for you across several sites. So now, there’s less incentive to keep “all your eggs in one basket”.

I’m sure we can look forward to lots more fantastic developments in 2008. 🙂 Personally, I’ll be paying more attention than I was this year as far as whether I’d like to consolidate or expand in the areas of status updates, social sites and video hosting sites. I didn’t even get to talk about live streaming options, like how I think Operator11 is infinitely better than BlogTV….. except Operator11 went completely offline for more than a week, so people like Jonny Goldstein had to retreat to other live streaming sites to keep their shows going. Of course, there’s no way to add a BlogTV archive to your Operator11 show archive, so c’est la vie. :/

Anyway… I think it’s in all of our best interests to pay attention not only to which new app or site has cool features or the elite people flocking to it, but also to whether we’re trading away communications with our core viewers, friends, contacts and followers. Just like The Grinch found out… it’s lonely at the top.

Bill Cammack • Cammack Media Group, LLC

Richard’s First Show!!! :D


My cousin Richard did his first Operator11 show today. I think it came out fun and interesting. He was learning the system while the show was already running! 😀

If you enjoyed the show, leave Richard a comment on his community.realfans.tv page! 😀 => [link]

Friends, Acquaintances & Contacts

Kristen “Kroosh” Crusius wrote a post the other day about what’s going on in her “Friendiverse”… her universe of friends. Her post reminded me that I had intended to comment about Robert Scoble‘s videos about how social networks’ “friends lists” really work.

Part I of Social Graph Based Search. 14:41 minutes.

Part II of Social Graph Based Search. 15 minutes.

And a bonus round III. 6 minutes.

I didn’t get around to writing that post because I’ve been incredibly busy for the last two months.

I think the term “Friends”, as automatically used by several social sites is an unfortunate and misleading label. This is especially true when there are no other choices. You’re forced into a binary system…. Accept or Decline… Yes or No… 1 or 0… My-Friend or Not-My-Friend. Unfortunately, as Scoble pointed out in his videos, reality doesn’t work like that. There are different levels and flavors of relationships between people. Business relationships, Family relationships, Intimate relationships, Adversarial relationships… I think linkedin has it right with the generic term “contact”. How many ‘contacts’ do you have? They’re not (your friends) by default, nor are they (not your friends) by default. Still, in linkedin, there are several types of business relationships, including people that you have worked with personally… people you have not worked with personally, but you trust whomever recommended them to you… people you have not worked with and you have no professional recommendations for, but you vouch for them as a person, so you are happy to recommend them to someone who’s looking to fill a position…. people you have no intention of recommending to anyone, but you will still accept them as a contact… people that you are in contact with specifically so you can set them up with other people….. ALL of these are thrown in together under the title ‘contact’.

Because of the misnomer “friends”, some people have selected this to mean their ACTUAL friends and will only add people that they actually know. Here, I agree with Scoble’s assertion that this is an incorrect usage of social networks. How are you supposed to expand your circle of CONTACTS or “sphere of influence” if you limit yourself on the internet to only the people you know IRL? How are you supposed to learn about new people that might have similar interests or ideals if you deny them connection to you? What’s the point of being on a social site if you’re only going to get in touch with the same people you’re already in contact with? I think that if they had levels of acquaintance on these sites, a lot more people would be connected to each other, because the categories would make sense to them. You would be able to see at-a-glance what level each person had placed their contacts on, and make a better assessment of their actual interaction with each other.

Looking at it from the other direction… It’s not fair that someone that sends you a friends request out of the blue has the exact same status as someone you collaborate with or work with or highly respect or go out for drinks with or climb mountains and eat pancakes with. Both the random person and the IRL friend are marked down as “Friend”. There’s no meritocracy. Even with facebook‘s relationship qualifiers, that’s a SECONDARY trait. It’s like having everyone in your military with the rank of ‘Private’, and you have to go to each Private and ask them what their actual importance is in order to determine who out-ranks whom. No. It doesn’t work like that. You can tell from the bars or whatever emblem on their shoulders who’s running the show and who’s going to be digging the trenches.

In the absence of actual distinctions, I think the best approach to accepting/rejecting social site “friends” is innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around. It’s always a good thing when you can see the applicant’s friends list in order to tell who might know them that YOU know and whose judgement you trust. When I know certain people don’t like jerks, and those people are “friends” with someone, I’m more likely to take my ACTUAL friend’s word that this other person is cool. That would seem to go against what I was saying earlier, because what if my friend is using the same “innocent until proven guilty” style that I am? 🙂 I would be accepting an untested “friend”. However, checks & balances will come into play. If the untested person actually interacts with the community, they’ll start getting “reviews” which will help you decide whether you want to keep them as a friend or not. Ultimately, the circle polices itself.

I was thinking about Kroosh’s “Friendiverse” yesterday, while I was watching Drew‘s live stream from PodCamp Philly. It’s a much more intimate format… giving personal, “hand-written” recommendations of places to go, people to see and things to do. I saw many people from MY Friendiverse on Drew’s stream yesterday… Kathryn, Eric, Jackson, Jonny, Steve, Grace, Charles… and ran into others in the text chat who were also watching the stream.

Ultimately, I’ve been inspired to focus more time & energy on the upper echelon of my own personal Friendiverse. In the game called “keeping up with the net”, it’s very easy to miss out on telling the people that matter to you how cool you think they are. 🙂

Bill Cammack • New York City • Freelance Video Editor • alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack

Jonny’s Par-tay!

I’m the guest on Jonny Goldstein’s “Jonny’s Par-tay” tomorrow night (Wednesday August 8th) LIVE between 9pmEST and 9:40pmEST @ http://jonnygoldstein.com/.

Jonny’s setting up a real-time text chat, so come on down and get your questions in as we disuss MSM, PEOPLE-CREATED media and some videoblogging community current events. 🙂

AND… Just in case you think we’re NEW TO THIS!!! 😀

http://billcammack.com/2006/10/15/zoom-in-producing-movies-today/

billcammack reelsolidtv jonnygoldstein

Interview with Eric Rochow of Gardenfork.tv

This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Eric Rochow, the creator and producer of Gardenfork.tv, his “internet show” or “videoblog”.

What is Gardenfork?

Gardenfork is an internet video show – iTunes video podcast about cooking, gardening, and other stuff. Other stuff can include car repair, or how to drop tree with a chainsaw. Its very eclectic; for example I’ve been doing a series of shows on BBQ, stopping at places whenever I can and interviewing BBQ experts, but then I’m also working on a show about how to repair cracks in your basement walls.

You can watch the show on our website: http://gardenfork.tv or subcribe to it through our page on iTunes.

Why do you do your show?

I’ve always been one of those people who wants to tell people about a neat thing I’ve learned, an interesting fact, a cool gizmo I just read about. This stuff swirls in my head and I’m just driven to want to share what I’ve discovered. Gardenfork is a great outlet for this desire to share information that our viewers, for some reason, like to watch.

And, its just a total blast to do. The viewer feedback is just amazing, and almost instant. Once we post a new episode, we start getting viewers emailing us with comments. The connection I have with the viewers is something you can’t buy.

Here’s a review on viewer posted on the gardenfork page on iTunes:

“Eric Rochow is not a self-promoting, self-congratulatory, larger-than-life celebrity chef. He’s the average guy doing an exceptionally good job putting together a podcast that entertains, informs, and encourages.

From the homey feel of his kitchen to the cutaways to watch the dog chew up a stick or yawn to the occasional multiple retakes as he flubs his lines, you can’t help but to love the show. Eric doesn’t pretend to be anything he isn’t and that is a breath of fresh air in today’s world of highly processed entertainment”

I think what appeals to people is that while I can talk in ‘Web 2.0 speak’ with the best of them, I can also talk about the benefits of a big block Chevy, ( FYI: that’s a specific type of engine produced by GM with dual quad carbs ) or how to keep flea beetles off your lettuce.

“Down to earth” is a phrase I’ve heard a lot when people describe the show. Its me doing a project, and that project may or may not come out they way I intended. I leave in the mistakes, because we’re all human, we make mistakes every day.

How did you get started doing Gardenfork?

I’ve worked in creative fields all my life: video, film, photography, design; and I had pitched several cooking-gardening shows to the lifestyle cable channels. The show ideas were always well received, but because no well known personality was attached to the shows, they weren’t picked up.

Last year I was on the web and ran across a video blog, crashtestkitchen, and the lightbulb went off in my head – I could produce and distribute my own cooking-gardening show – and I didn’t need the cable networks to do it.

Then we had our friends over for dinner one night, and I handed my friend Bill my video camera and said, “We’re shooting a cooking show tonight”. I made puttanesca, which is a favorite of mine, we had fun doing it, and that energy came through on the video. I had forgotten to turn on all the lights in the kitchen, so the video is pretty dark, so I called that episode “Puttanesca In The Dark with Bill”

How do you choose what to videoblog about?

Basically, whatever I’m doing on the weekend, I try to make a show about it. Last weekend I made Rhubarb Jam and tried my hand at canning, so we shot that. It was great. Sometimes I plan ahead, sometimes its just whatever project needs doing that weekend. Now we get viewer mail asking for shows on specific topics, like building a grape arbor, so I’ll do that as well.

I have to replace the clutch in my truck soon, so that will be the subject of a two part show. You can’t show how to change out a clutch in 8 minutes.

What’s your background? How do you know how to do all this stuff? 🙂

My parents are born and bred New Yorkers, my grandfather was a buliding super in the Bronx, but I grew up mainly in Wisconsin. We did a lot of hiking, fishing, hunting. When something broke, we didn’t call the repairman, we figured out how to fix it.

When I was 14, my father bought my brother and I a 1949 Ford Pickup. It was in pieces. We learned about cars by putting one back together. At the same time I started gardening, and when I moved back to NY, I started cooking.

I now divide my time between Northwest Connecticut and New York City, both of which are fertile ground for many episodes of gardenfork.

Is producing Gardenfork.tv paying your bills?

Not yet, but in the future that is a very real possibility. More and more advertisers are moving to the web, and gardenfork viewers are a niche audience that certain advertisers very much want to connect with. The advertising wont be obtrusive, it will be along the lines of how PBS thanks its sponsors, with short pre-roll and post-roll clips.

In the very near future, your TV and your computer will be one appliance, its the ‘convergence’ everyone has been talking about, its finally happening. Gardenfork is part of this convergence of traditional TV and the Web. I wear the “media disruptor” label proudly.

Gardenfork has also helped me in business, as my multimedia company, choplogic, is now helping corporations create their own internal and external video blogs, text blogs, and community sites. My wife calls me “Husband 2.0”

Going forward, we are also in pre-production on a new internet video show, Real World Green http://realworldgreen.com, which is about practical things you can do to lower your impact on the earth. The goal is to appeal to viewers who may not relate to the current crop of ‘green’ programming that’s out there, our emphasis is on practical; less talk, more about things you can do.

Thanks Eric, and good luck with Gardenfork / RealWorldGreen! 😀

Bill Cammack • New York City • Freelance Video Editor • alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack

Join The Vlog Deathmatch!

The Vlog Deathmatch Music Video Challenge ( VlogDeathmatch.com ) is going on right now. Deadline for entries is May 14th. After that, site visitors will have a week to vote for their favorite music video, and YOU could be crowned “Vlog Deathmatch Music Video Champion”! 😀

Of course… that and however much it costs for a cup of coffee will get you a cup of coffee. 🙂 There are no prizes other than joining in in a videoblogging community event, showing off your skillZ, and generally having a good time. Feel free to drop by VlogDeathmatch.com and check out the videos as they come in. Some people are focusing on their music videos, while others are doing promos to drum up interest before their actual contest entry.

It’s a no-lose situation. No entry fee, no nothing, so join up and let’s find out who’s crowned the Vlog Deathmatch Music Video Champion!!! 😀

Bill Cammack • New York City • Freelance Video Editor • alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack

BeachWalks With Rox #393otr

Beach Walk #393 OTR - A New Idea in Cancer Support

Click the image for a link to Beach Walks With Rox #393otr from BlogHerBiz 07.

I’m at Day 2 BlogHer Business Conference in NYC talking with CNN Anchor Carol Lin about her new web project for cancer patients and their supporters.

Carol lost her husband to cancer and is developing a social networking web site to combine her extensive news background with her passion to contribute to the cancer community. On hiatus from the CNN anchor chair, she has immersed herself in the world of web technology, and shared with me a remakable combination of warmth and drive, passion and intelligence.

billcammack roxannedarling carollin beachwalks.tv blogherbiz blogher

French Constitutional Council vs. Citizen Journalism

How backwards is this?


France bans citizen journalists from reporting violence

Law could lead to imprisonment of amateur videographers and Web site operators who publish their images

By Peter Sayer, IDG News Service

March 06, 2007

The French Constitutional Council has approved a law that criminalizes the filming or broadcasting of acts of violence by people other than professional journalists. The law could lead to the imprisonment of eyewitnesses who film acts of police violence, or operators of Web sites publishing the images, one French civil liberties group warned on Tuesday.

The council chose an unfortunate anniversary to publish its decision approving the law, which came exactly 16 years after Los Angeles police officers beating Rodney King were filmed by amateur videographer George Holliday in the night of March 3, 1991. The officers’ acquittal at the end on April 29, 1992 sparked riots in Los Angeles.

This is an amazing scenario. :/ According to the rest of the article, “the law targets the practice of ‘happy slapping,’ in which a violent attack is filmed by an accomplice, typically with a camera phone, for the amusement of the attacker’s friends.” In that case…… Why not target the practice of happy slapping? :/

Apparently they think that crime and bullying is dependent upon the ability to videotape said activities. People were getting attacked before videotape was created, and CERTAINLY before cell phones had the ability to record images and sound. There is going to be less effect on kids involved in happy slapping and more effect on people that just happen to be in the right place at the right time to record something that happened to someone.

Similar to the presence of police, the fact that “citizen journalists” have the ability to record something going on right here right now is a potential deterrent to crime. Making it so that anyone other than “professional journalists” might be prosecuted for taping something is making it EASIER for criminals to do what they do instead of tougher. Sometimes, it’s just AMAZING what people thing is a good idea. :/ You have to wonder if they’re thinking about their community or their own agendas.

Bill Cammack • New York City • Freelance Video Editor • alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack