1st Vlog Global FlashMeeting

On October 18th, 2008 @ 12 pm EST, I was very happy to participate in the first Vlog Global FlashMeeting.

Vlog Europe Global Flashmeeting

A FlashMeeting is basically a program that allows you to line up, one at a time, and say what you want, while everyone else involved can see you via your webcam. It’s pretty ancient, but it’s also pretty universal and reliable. You can see the archive by clicking here. I chimed in at 1 hour, 53 minutes into the program. ๐Ÿ™‚

I mainly showed up to WATCH, since it was a gathering of a lot of people that I’ve learned stuff from and had conversations with about this internet video thing that we do.

Somehow, three hours went by REALLY QUICKLY! ๐Ÿ˜€

Cheers to the participants and the organizers!

Find out more about Vlog Europe at www.vlogeurope.com/blog.

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! ๐Ÿ˜€ 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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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! ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sharing Breakfast

Yesterday was a fantastic day. ๐Ÿ˜€

I got to meet Kfir Pravda, who was here for a few hours in NYC Friday morning awaiting his connecting flight to Israel. I was familiar with Kfir from blogging as well as our involvement with the Yahoo Videoblogging Group.

Bill Cammack & Kfir Pravda

We’ve had interesting discussions about the direction of online video and television, but I never figured I’d meet him in person, since I had no plans to travel to Israel.

Fortunately, our schedules and locations coincided, and I was able to enjoy the morning with Kfir, Kathryn Jones, Jeff Pulver and Keren Dagan.

Jeff, Kathryn, Kfir & Keren

One of the benefits of social media is that you can learn about people and their ideas at your own pace. If you see something interesting, you can bookmark their site or add them on a social network or follow them on a status update service. The effect is that you can gain a respect for someone without ever having met them in person, or if you’re a lurker, without them ever even knowing that you exist. I already appreciated Kfir for his ideas before I walked into “The Library” at the Regency Hotel. The intangibles of meeting him in person amplified that appreciation.

As much as you might be able to tell about someone from reading their blog posts or comments, there’s much more to be gleaned from having real-time, F2F conversation with someone. How do you greet each other? Do you have similar senses of humor? Is this person as sharp in a real-time, constantly-evolving conversation as they are in text, which they may have taken an hour to write, or in a video which they may have scripted or rehearsed many times before recording it? Is this someone with whom you would probably have been friends, had the “accident of birth” placed you in the same geographical location?

Previously, I asked “How Social is ‘Social’ Media?”. Yesterday, there was a ton of “Social” and a ton of “Media”! ๐Ÿ˜€ Jeff Pulver was broadcasting live to Qik utilizing his Nokia N95 and his portable hotspot (described/shown in the video below).

I recorded a Seesmic video with my MacBook Pro. So, not only did we share breakfast with each other, we shared ‘sharing breakfast’ with our friends on other social media sites as well. ๐Ÿ˜€

This time, social media came through BIG TIME! ๐Ÿ˜€ Fortunately Keren was keeping an eye on the clock, because our conversation had become three hours long with no end in sight. There really ought to be laws against having so much fun before 2pm! ๐Ÿ˜€

It was a pleasure meeting Kfir & Keren. It makes such a difference when someone steps off of a blog page or computer screen and you get to experience them IRL. It was great to hang out with Kathryn & Jeff as well. I’m going to strive to sift through the QUANTITY of consistently increasing adds and contacts and have more QUALITY interactions like this one through social media. ๐Ÿ˜€

Bill Cammack รขโ‚ฌยข Cammack Media Group, LLC

Got a Crush on a Celebrity…

Reader Derek writes:

There are people out in the public eye that grabs your attention.

Using the “Dating Genius” tried and proven methods, how can someone make any good of this? Generically and academically speaking, mind you.

Actually, this is a very good question, Derek.

Becoming enamored with public figures happens to people all day, every day. That’s why the tabloids make so much money. Everyone’s interested in what their favorite celebrities are doing and saying as well as whom they’re currently dating.

There are two ‘problems’ with this. The first one is that you’re not getting the full experience of a person by watching their show. The second is that you usually don’t have any local access to the person in question, so you never get to experience what they’re really like.

Because of this, what people ‘fall in love’ with is only 1% of the actual person at best… unless they’re doing a personal videoblog where they’re authentically telling you about themselves, their lives, what they think and feel.

For example… I have a friend that’s very PHYSICALLY attractive… very beautiful, but her personality is so *CRASS* that I can’t imagine anyone wanting to date her for who she is as a person. Guys put up with her shenanigans because she’s an easy lay. Other than that, she doesn’t have any wins… None of them are actually “WITH” her. You could take that chick and make her the host of a television show or internet show, and guys would be ‘falling in love’ with her too, but that’s because she’d be reading a script and her true personality wouldn’t be revealed at all by what she’s saying.

There’s actually a third ‘problem’ with celebrity crushes… You’re not the only one.

Depending on your level of taste in women, there could be easily 100, 1,000 or 1,000,000 guys that ‘fell in love’ with her for the exact same reasons that you did, so even if she’s available and you have local access to her, it’s gonna be an uphill climb to get on.

DatingGenius

Network-Quality Series Developed For The Internet

Chuck Barney, of the Contra Costa Times posted an interesting article on freep.com today, entitled “‘Quarterlife’ ready for Internet debut“.

According to the article, “Quarterlife”, a series by Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick (creators of the hit TV series “Thirtysomething”) is being touted as the first time a “true, network-quality series” has been produced directly for the internet.

Herskovitz is quoted as saying “It’s a very risky, expensive gamble, that’s for sure”, and the article later mentions:

While each hour of “quarterlife” — at $400,000-plus — costs substantially more than the typical online production, the overall budget for the project is “way less than half” of a typical network drama. Also, the crew is much smaller, and they’re forced to shoot on location because there’s no rent money for soundstages.

I’ll assume that an “hour of Quarterlife” refers to finished running time of the series. They have made (or are still in the process of making?) 36 eight-minute “webisodes”. The article doesn’t state their release schedule… daily? weekly? Either way, it’s 288 minutes of finished material, which is 4.8 hours, which @ 400k per….. comes out to One Million, Nine Hundred and Twenty Thousand dollars.

$1,920,000 = 36 x 8-minute shows? Hmm… maybe I calculated incorrectly… Let me try it a different way. ๐Ÿ˜€

How about if we break it down to minutes instead? ๐Ÿ˜€

While each hour of “quarterlife” — at $400,000-plus — costs substantially more than the typical online production…

(60 minutes = $400,000) / 60 => (1 minute = $6,667)
(1 show = 8 minutes) x $6,667 => (1 show = $53,336)

(1 season? = 36 shows) x $53,336 => (1 season = $1,920,096)

Hmm… ok… Good… ~$7,000 / finished minute for a “true, network-quality series” being produced directly for the Internet. I, for one, will be *VERY* interested to find out what the ROI will be for this project… as will the Yahoo Videoblogging Group, where we often discuss the intricacies of and potential for monetization of internet video. I’m sure the currently striking Writers Guild of America will be paying close attention to how well this project is received on the internet as well… especially for this reason:

The “quarterlife” concept was conceived three years ago as a pilot for ABC. The network rejected it. Instead of bailing on the project, Herskovitz and Zwick revamped it for online purposes. But they’re quick to emphasize that this isn’t just another case of producers dumping a failed pilot onto the Internet.

If ‘Quarterlife’ works out, financially… that means an entire world (literally) is opened up to television professionals as an alternative method to put bread on the table or even to have entire successful careers based on creating online content.

Caroline McCarthy, a CNETNews.com staff writer (c/net: the social), previewed the first six episodes of “Quarterlife” and is quoted in the article as saying:

“Obviously, it couldn’t have come at a better time for the show,” McCarthy says about the strike. “It might appeal to some people who are looking for something new to watch and are ready to change their viewing habits.”

This is an interesting point, considering many people watch television from their computers already, and some people don’t watch television at all, choosing instead to derive their entertainment from online sources such as web sites, aggregators and rss feed readers. If struck shows go into reruns, people may very well turn to online content such as “Quarterlife” merely to receive ‘fresh’ entertainment. While they’re browsing ‘the space’, they might end up checking out Rocketboom or other daily- or weekly-produced internet shows.

Yes… This will be very interesting. I’m looking forward to finding out what a ~$7,000/minute internet series will “feel” like. We can already tell what it will *look* like from the video posted to the “Quarterlife’ site. The show is scheduled to start on November 11th on MySpace, so “tune in tomorrow” for the jump-off, and let’s see if a “true, network-quality series, produced directly for the internet” helps to revolutionize the online media and content creation space.

Bill Cammack รขโ‚ฌยข New York City รขโ‚ฌยข Freelance Video Editor รขโ‚ฌยข alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack