CNN Presents “Black In America: Silicon Valley”

CNN aired “Black In America: Silicon Valley” last night. It was actually more interesting than I thought it would be. I would have done the show differently, but I’m me and CNN’s producers aren’t.

Disclosure: I’ll watch *ANYTHING* with Angela Benton in it! >:P~~~

CNN aired “Black In America: Silicon Valley” last night. It was actually more interesting than I thought it would be. I would have done the show differently, but I’m me and CNN’s producers aren’t.

Disclosure: I’ll watch *ANYTHING* with Angela Benton in it! >:P~~~

Yum, Yum, Yum, and a Liverwurst A La Mode!!! >:D

So I was gonna watch this show regardless of what happened in it.

I had no idea what the NewME Accelerator was before just now. Continue reading “CNN Presents “Black In America: Silicon Valley””

Unfriending Ethics

Bill Cammack & Kathleen Grace
Egregious photo of myself with Kathleen! 😀

Social Media is insanely skewed towards positive feedback. Because of this, a stigma is attached to negative feedback, regardless of how truthful that feedback is. People are literally AFRAID to say or type ANYTHING that they might be criticized for… by ANYONE… which necessarily and obviously creates a disingenuous society.

Put another way… As long as you’re being nice to people, you can say whatever you want. As soon as you’re not being nice… TO ANYBODY… you’re out of bounds. As long as everyone agrees with everyone, there’s lots of above-board chatter and clinking of glasses. As soon as someone disagrees, the chatter moves to the back-channel. The criticism or negative belief thrives behind the scenes, it’s just that there’s no trace of it in the same places where there’s a ton of positive feedback. Continue reading “Unfriending Ethics”

Online Dating Tactics

Interestingly enough, both Alana Taylor & Amanda Gravel posted about people’s Facebook rap tactics this week… although their topic is really universally applicable in the world of Social Media.


Alana Taylor & Amanda Gravel

Essentially, Amanda’s post was about how people send friends requests with zero context or explanation of who they are or why they want to be “friends” with her. Alana’s post is about a guy friending her and immediately writing stuff to her that she found creepy:

Alana: “WHATT?? Can you come off as any more of a creep???

I have no idea who this guy is, but he is telling me in a Facebook message that his fantasy is to marry a girl he sees in a picture!?!?!”

Continue reading “Online Dating Tactics”

re: Raymond Kristiansen’s “The Audience of Ten”

Raymond M. Kristiansen wrote a post on January 11, 2007 entitled “The Audience of Ten”. He also made a post with the same name to the Yahoo Videoblogging Group. They’re both good an interesting reads if you’re planning to do a “show” on the internet.

Basically, Raymond was making a distinction between having a few viewers and having many viewers. I understood TECHNICALLY, what he was talking about, but I didn’t have any IRL experience that would have made me really empathize with his points. His focus was on the HOW and WHY of doing a show being based on WHOM you were doing the show FOR.

I’ve kept Raymond’s concept in mind over the more-than-a-year since I read it. In the last month, I’ve had reason to revisit the concept to attempt to determine the “sweet spot” of “Audience”, as it pertains to me, personally.

My third and most recent “season” of ReelSolid.TV, my interenet video show, is entitled “Delusions of Grandeur”. This isn’t a personal statement, even though everyone that actually knows me IRL will tell you that DoG fits *me* PERFECTLY! 😀 The reason for the title is that as I contemplated WHY I would do a show, the reason is for the audience. I don’t have to do a show for ME, because I’m already living my own life. I already know what’s happening. I’m already getting laughs or education from what goes on around me. I’m enjoying NYC sights and sounds every day. So it’s not for me that I would make a show….. or, is it?……

Some people just enjoy being famous or internet famous. Some people enjoy being popular, even if they have to play themselves out to gain status/notoreity/fame/infamy. That’s of no interest to me, because I’ve always BEEN popular. I had a pivotal discussion with David Karp on June 10, 2007. I know what day it was because I shot this video:


As part of the discussion that day, David brought up the concept of “popularity”, and I insisted that that had nothing to do with my doing shows. At the same time, he sparked a question for me, which was “What’s the goal? Why do it?” which correlated with Raymond’s question “Who do you do it for?”

DoG is indicative of a cycle. In order to do an internet show, you have to delude yourself into the believe that someone, ANYONE is watching your show. Otherwise, by definition, there’s no point in putting you videos or audio or text ON the internet. It’s a beacon… A message in a bottle. You don’t know WHO’S going to get the message, but you’re hoping… BELIEVING that somebody will. So in order to do a show, you pre-fabricate your audience in your own mind, then you speak to that audience, and hopefully a REAL audience catches on to what you floated out there into the stratosphere.

Some people don’t have this problem. They just love to see/listen to themselves talk. 😀 That’s great for them, because they don’t need an audience. They just need to have a camera pointed at them to feel accomplished and happy with what they’re doing. More power to them! 😀

When I decided on DoG, I wasn’t thinking about Raymond’s “Audience of Ten”. I was thinking about the audience at large. I was thinking about the people that randomly land on my site because of google searches. I was thinking about the people that happen to be looking for a topic that I happen to have had something to say about and just dropped in. I was NOT thinking about “core viewers” or “passionate viewers”. I wrote “Are You A Tech Elitist?” from the standpoint of someone that was focusing on the non-core and recognized a deficiency in my own core relations. With more and more Twitter followers and more and more Facebook and LinkedIn contacts, my time was being spent managing the social media masses instead of relating to the core. This is what brought me back to Raymond’s concept.

When I returned, however, I wasn’t focusing on the numbers being the difference. I was focusing on RELATIONSHIPS being the difference. The perfect example for me is my iTunes feed.

I receive stats on how many times each of my videos is pulled through iTunes. That number has never been higher than 30 within, say, 3 hours of a video release, and it’s currently sitting around 6 within the first hour. iTunes doesn’t give you any feedback about WHO IT IS that’s downloading your videos. Another thing is that when people use iTunes, they can take your show with them on their iPods or iPhones, so all you understand as the content creator is that there was one download of your video. That doesn’t mean that that person didn’t watch it 18 times and show it to their friends. So… In the mindset of focusing on the social media masses, I completely neglected my iTunes feed, meaning that as I redesigned BillCammack.com, mentally catalyzed by Tyme White, I broke my link from my video category to my iTunes feed and didn’t bother to check it because “in the grand scheme of things”, it was only 6 people anyway, right?

I received my wake-up call when my friend Adrienne Brawley asked me “So… what happened to your iTunes feed?”

All of a sudden…. And I mean *ALL* of a sudden, I completely, fully and POSITIVELY understood WHY I needed to fix my feed, and WAY MORE IMPORTANTLY, I recognized the sector of the audience that’s important TO ME when I make videos or write posts. I suddenly realized that amongst the random hits I receive from people looking for dating advice or footage of snow in Manhattan, NYC, I have a few, VERY IMPORTANT hits that I get that are from people that are ACTUALLY INTERESTED in what I’ve said or done now. Interestingly enough, DoG glosses this over, because you delude yourself into believing that lots of people care, which makes everyone like fans in a stadium. It’s the opposite of not seeing the forest for the trees. It’s not seeing the individuals for the crowd.

What it’s about for me certainly isn’t “popularity”, as I told David. Popularity’s useful for people that just want to be admired by a bunch of people they have no relationship to. It’s about having a good conversation IRL with Kenyatta about a blog post we both commented on. It’s about Tim saying he enjoys my work. It’s about Lux being able to rattle off DatingGenius concepts to new people that hang out with us because she’s watched me DEMOLISH people with the DG Live Show so many times already and people always come up with the same arguments. It’s about instigating-ass Annie throwing me under the bus every chance she gets. It’s about Charles laughing with me over something I said or did on the net. It’s about Grace shaking her head when I break down “the real” to her. 😀

So, finally, I understand Raymond’s concept, and I agree with it for the most part. As I do videos going forward, I’m going to do them for the audience that I know I have and that I enjoy receiving feedback from. I might do them for individuals or I might do them for groups. I am NOT going to be focusing outside of that, however I welcome anyone who finds anything interesting to watch, give feedback or join in the fun. 🙂

end of days…..

On December 31, 2006, almost 10 months ago, I decided I was going to do a text blog. I needed a title, since I didn’t want it to be called “Bill’s Blog”… *YAWN*

As I searched my mind for a title that meant something to me at the time, “Wasted Days” is what I decided was the most relevant. At the time, I wrote:

The blog is named “Wasted Days”. I don’t know why. I just like that name. Well… I think I DO know why, but the reasons aren’t tangible right now, so there’s nothing to say/print/type about it.

I did know why I was writing “Wasted Days” at the time, however, I didn’t feel like ‘flavoring’ the blog with the reason, so I left it out. Also, the reason didn’t permeate my existence, so it wasn’t really fair to call the blog “Wasted Days” to begin with. I didn’t want to add to that unfairness by clarifying my personal meaning for the title.

As this seems to be the season for people ending things, such as blogs, and starting new ones, I was prompted to revisit my text blog, which I had long since abandoned anyway. I figured I’d wrap it up, so that’s what I’m doing right now. I’m ending “Wasted Days”, because the ‘period’ is no longer relevant, and things have morphed so much in the last 10 months (really, even the last three months) that it’s really time for something new. 🙂

To me, Days are Wasted when you know there’s something you want to do or that you feel you *SHOULD* be doing, and you’re not doing it. For me, at that time of title-creation, my not-doing was that I had (and still have) a very special and important-to-me friend that lives on the other side of the country that I had never met IRL, and I knew that as inspiring to me as she was [is], that I wasn’t going to go see her.

Bill Cammack - Wasted Days
The Ghost in the Machine

This was a strange situation for me at the time, because I’m not a long-distance person. It’s basically “out of sight, out of mind”, and I’m not usually inclined to even consider girls that don’t live in Manhattan, and even then, within about 15 minutes on public transportation from my house. 🙂 Nevertheless, thanks to the wonders of the internet (no… not J-date), here I was, admiring someone that I would be bugging every day to hang out if she lived within my AO [Area of Operations], but since she doesn’t, I remained here and she remained there, and my days remained wasted.

“Wasted Days” had the fringe benefit of loosely alluding to alcoholic beverage consuption, 😀 but it was really about “What would you do if you couldn’t [wouldn’t] do what you really felt like you *should* be doing?”. This is why, in December of last year, my days were wasted.

I believe the first thing I noticed was that since I was blogging, the days weren’t actually wasted, almost from the beginning. I was being creative. I was doing something I felt was interesting and worthwhile. I was also learning… Learning about the process of blogging, tagging, social sites, myspace, facebook, linkedin, ning… I was learning about editing with new software & incorporating new techniques. I was learning about compresson, flash, h.264, fps, data rates… So, once again, even though, inspirationally, the days were wasted, they really weren’t wasted at all…..

Meanwhile, I was making new friends.

Frisbee Group, April 14 2007
Bill, Grace, Rachel, Charles, Obreahny, Sandra, Mike

I’ve always been blessed with fantastic friends… the few, the elite. Ever since kindergarten, and probably before I can remember, I’ve always had my “crews”. Necessarily, as time goes on, we move from social location to social location, from Elementary to JHS to HS to College, some folks to Grad School, then to the workplace, different neighborhoods to live in, different gyms to join… There’s always the building and eventual dissolving of “crews”. The internet in general, and videoblogging in particular has now changed all of that. People are seeing, hearing and learning about like-minded individuals and groups all over the planet and making global, international alliances. This has completely replaced… for me, anyway… local interactions based on physical proximity.

Without recapping the last ten months, which has included 202 linkedin contacts, 279 facebook friends, 247 twitter followers (lots of overlap between all three), etc etc etc… (which I only bring up because it’s an OUTLANDISH number for someone like me that’s used to selecting a few CLOSE, CLOSE friends and staking our claim in the universe)… there were a couple of events in particular that really made me “sit up and take notice” as far as what was really going on and how my Days were TOTALLY not being Wasted….

The first event was meeting Roxanne Darling IRL (In Real Life). We had met via the Yahoo Videoblogger’s group and she had reason to be in NYC, all the way from her home in Hawaii. The first thing that was striking to me was that she just set up the camera and was ready to do an episode of her show Beach Walks with Rox… which now that I checked out that post, that was actually last November 9th, before I even started “Wasted Days”… Anyway… she was ready to just do an episode with no rehearsal, no talking about what we were going to discuss… NOTHING! :O … Just turn on the camera and talk to each other… I was like WHAT??? But I rolled with it, and it came out ok. 🙂

That was a learning experience in and of itself, however, we hung out afterwards and had this really great, intelligent, fascinating conversation, mostly about videoblogging and “the space”, but also about life in general. As I’ve told Rox, that was the best IRL conversation I had had with someone I knew from the internet in AGES. I wasn’t aware at the time that *THIS* is the potential of the internet where people get to express themselves and align themselves with people who have similar viewpoints or even people who have opposing, yet intelligently articulated viewpoints. I knew there was something ‘odd’ (read: FANTASTIC!!!) going on, but I didn’t have enough data to figure it out.

The second event was in January, 2007 @ Andrew Baron’s house, which I have labeled as Rocketboom Party Photos. I don’t remember what the genesis of that party was, but I don’t believe I even had *MY* camera with me that night… Which shows how long ago it was, because I ALWAYS have my camera now. 😀

At some point, I saw Bre Pettis, whom I recognized from Jonny Goldstein’s show on Phovi.com, “Reinventing Television”. When I walked up to Bre, I introduced myself and started to explain something about myself (that I don’t remember) to him, and his reply was to look at me oddly, as if I had amnesia, and he said “…I know who you are”.

Now, this was somewhat shocking to me, because I considered myself a spectator of Jonny’s show. Until that very point in time, I hadn’t given a single second’s worth of thought to the possibility that people that I didn’t specifically personally solicit to check out my site might have done so. I CERTAINLY hadn’t considered that someone on a show might actually research members of the “studio audience” that were there in the text chat. Whatever the actual circumstances were, I never found out, because my mind was suddenly off on the tangent of “what’s really going on, here?”. I now had to consider my interactions on the net as TWO-WAY instead of one-way, like television. To me, that situation was as if I had walked up to Chow Yun-Fat and told him that I had seen his movie “Hard Boiled”, and he said “I know who you are”. Strange, yet fascinating, amazing and transformative all at the same time. 🙂

Also at that party, I recognized Kenyatta Cheese. I had had a chat with him via blog comments over a quasi-contoversial topic, and I was aware that he had no idea what I looked like, but I knew what he looked like. I walked up to him and introduced myself, and he gave me this weird look, like “How come this guy I’ve never seen before is addressing me in a friendly manner?” I went on to bring up the blog comment conversation I had had with him, and his entire demeanor changed to one of recognition and acceptance. We went on to have an extended, IRL conversation about the blog post in question as well as peripheral topics that we most likely would never have gotten into in text comments.

I still didn’t “get it” after Drew’s party. I think I considered both the Bre and Kenyatta incidents to be easily explained away as isolated situations. I wasn’t getting that people were forming actual friendships and respect for each other that had never met each other IRL. I wasn’t getting that people were learning things about me that I didn’t tell them, because I posted it on the net and they read or watched it without telling me they did. I wasn’t getting that as opposed to selecting compatible people that are within our physical locations where we live, hang out or work, we now have the opportunity to interact… A. LOT…. with people with whom we share similar likes and interests that live ANYWHERE in the world.

I get it now… At least to the degree that I can write this post and wrap up my “Wasted Days” blog. What I get is that it’s not so strange… hehe well, to me at least! 😀 … to admire my friend across the country even though I’ve never met her IRL. It’s not uncommon to make friendships with people outside of one’s neighborhood, town, city, state, or even COUNTRY!

The Days aren’t Wasted just because I’m not in physical proximity to her. There are so many other ways that people communicate and get to know each other and build respect and create friendships and all formats of relationships that the only way your days are going to be wasted is if you aren’t figuring out what YOU want to do with your own life and your own time…. and DOING it! 😀


Fin.
Bill Cammack
2007… The Wasted Days
http://billcammack.com
http://reelsolid.tv

Bill Cammack GSX-R NYC Night
Photo Credit: Jay Batista

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