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”. πŸ˜€ … “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. πŸ™‚ “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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚ 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 Ò€’ Cammack Media Group, LLC

Celebrity Crush, Part 2

In response to Got a Crush on a CelebrityÒ€¦, Derek writes:

So it’s an uphill climb. Understood. But, there are guys out there that KNOW (think) that they are MORE than enough to take the challenge (think Pros vs Joes).

What kinda advice would the DG give to those guys? Would could a guy do once he’s left his life, moved to the city of his desire?

I’ll met enough people to understand your initial answer all too well (think “astronaunts”). A type-A personality guy (definitely NOT me) wouldn’t let something like reality stand in the way. They are the same guys that blow horns and give cat calls to pick up women (see my last video posting – I don’t know how to link it here).

Actually, this is something else I’ve never thought about because up until recently, all the stars were in LA/Hollywood. Unless you lived out there, AND were running in their circles, there was ZERO percent chance that you’d meet a star anyway, unless she came to your local mall to sign autographs or was doing a show in your town.

In the case of doing a show, you’re done. She’s there for business, and you’re not getting near her. If she’s there for a book signing or whatever celebrities do to meet their fans, you’re not going to have but about a minute near her so your best bet is to come in the door looking jiggy-fresh, slide her your number and tell her to call you… outside of the earshot of cockblocking assistants and managers, of course.

Anyway, at this point, now that there are internet celebrities, they’re way more accessible to average joes, because none of this is being done in studios under locked-down conditions. Consider YouTube, for instance, you have some of the most REGULAR chicks that are STARS on YouTube. They probably work as cashiers in the local Wal-Mart, even.

As far as actually getting on, there’s no specific formula to that, because as predictable as chicks are, they all get off on different things. Some chicks like bad boys, some chicks like nice guys… Play the wrong style and you lose. πŸ™‚ The only advantage you have in these situations is if the chick puts a lot of information online about things that she likes. That way, you can play it off like you’re interested in the same things and gain rapport.

So it’s not really different from the basic formula…

Gather information, then Fake It, Till You Make It! πŸ˜€

Livecasting

My excellent friend ActionGirl hung out with me today. We did a dual-channel livecast using ustream.tv.

Livecasting, if you’re not familiar, is one of the newest internet fads, but it’s also NOT new. Technology has advanced to the point that the average joe has the ability to broadcast his or her life effortlessly and without cost (except for the obvious costs of computer, webcam, broadband connection, etc).

Similar to quasi-scripted MSM shows like MTV’s “The Real World”, people now have the ability to leave a camera running and pointed at them as they go about their daily business. Some people livecast from work. Some people livecast from home. Some people livecast on the move with EV-DO modem cards and laptops, like Sarah and Lisa do on justin.tv.

I became intersted in livecasting after watching Drew Olanoff‘s feed from PodCamp Philly. It was fun watching Drew roam the hallways and run into conference attendees and presenters. There was something cool about interacting with this live show that was going on, NOW. πŸ™‚ It was different because you could actually affect the course of the show, assuming the host was monitoring the text chat room. It was different because you could call your friends that you saw in the background and have them come over and talk to you on camera. It was cool because you were receiving information RIGHT NOW, just like everyone that was actually in Philadelphia for the conference.

So I wanted to check it out, and ActionGirl was down to experiment with me….. um…. was down to join me in my livecasting experiment. πŸ™‚

We started out outdoors, utilizing free WiFi in the area. We were streaming about one frame per five seconds. Our video was choppy and our audio wasn’t much better. Some glitch occurred where ActionGirl had bars of wireless signal, yet was unable to connect to the internet at all. Strange. Next, I tried receiving signal via my EV-DO modem card and sharing my internet connection with ActionGirl via airport. That was really slow, but I’ve never tried that before, and I think it was due to my card not connecting properly. I didn’t have this diagnostics entry in my taskbar that I should have had, so I don’t figure the card was functioning optimally at that point.

We retired indoors and used WiFi connections to stream from each of our macbooks. Connection was quick, and I was able to embed both of our streams plus a text chat on one page and run that from my site. I later added our friend Chris’ stream, so we had three simultaneous live streams on the page.

Livecasting is tough to do properly, IMO, without monitoring your chat room(s). I suppose there IS no ‘proper’ way to livecast, since it’s really “anything goes”, but in order to interact with your audience, you have to read what they’re typing to you. If you’re not planning to interact with them, clearly, you don’t have to bother with that. I found myself responding late to comments because while we were saying something, the text chat was scrolling up and I’d have to read up to notice what people said minutes before.

I think the audience is as important as the host… Meaning that if you have the right audience, even if that’s ‘only’ one or two people who actually know you or are genuinely interested in what you do, livecasting can be a fun and rewarding experience. The best times today were when our friends were on, even just for a few minutes, and we got to interact with them and answer their questions. OTOH, when the audience isn’t prime, it’s tough, if not impossible to get revved up to deliver your best ‘performance’.

For me, *teamwork* is key. I’m not interested in doing my own solo livecast. If I know I’m going to be around interesting people or at an event that would be of interest to people I know, then I’m glad to broadcast it. It also helps if you actually like and enjoy the person you’re livecasting with so you know that even if NOBODY shows up, you’re going to have a good time that day. πŸ™‚

Eventually, we called it a night. I felt pretty exhausted by then, actually. When we shut our feeds down, it actually felt strange to me to NOT be on camera. Once we came inside, we were on from around 6pm to 9pm, and even that felt like an eternity. I’m not sure how (or why) people do that during their every waking hour. I guess you have to be the type of person that enjoys random people interacting with you. I suppose some people do it for the fame or notoriety.

I don’t know that there’s going to be a way to monetize lifecasting. I experimented with product placement, including beverages and t-shirts. It’s tough to do well, live, trying to get products in front of a tiny webcam lens in the optimal size, focus and location. Still… A lot of people like to broadcast their lives, and a lot of people like to watch those broadcasts, so we’ll see where this fad takes us next. πŸ™‚

Bill Cammack Ò€’ New York City Ò€’ Freelance Video Editor Ò€’ alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack