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. πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜€

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! πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ˜€ 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! πŸ˜€

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. πŸ˜€

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. πŸ™‚

Sharing Breakfast

Yesterday was a fantastic day. πŸ˜€

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”! πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ˜€

This time, social media came through BIG TIME! πŸ˜€ 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! πŸ˜€

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. πŸ˜€

Bill Cammack Ò€’ 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. πŸ˜€

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

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

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 Ò€œWasted DaysÒ€. I donÒ€ℒt know why. I just like that name. WellÒ€¦ I think I DO know why, but the reasons arenÒ€ℒt tangible right now, so thereÒ€ℒs 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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚ 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, πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜€

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. πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜€ … 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! πŸ˜€


Fin.
Bill Cammack
2007Ò€¦ The Wasted Days
http://billcammack.com
http://reelsolid.tv

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

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. πŸ™‚

AND… Just in case you think we’re NEW TO THIS!!! πŸ˜€

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

billcammack reelsolidtv jonnygoldstein

Bill Cammack to Team SCRIGGITY!

Effective immediately, Bill Cammack joins Drew Olanoff as a member of “Team SCRIGGITY“. πŸ˜€

When I first got involved in videoblogging, a little over a year ago, I used to troll blip.tv‘s recent uploads to get ideas about shows that I thought were good. One of those shows was Jonny Goldstein’s “Reinventing Television” (reinventingtv.phovi.com). I got involved, immediately. => Text chat from Reinventing Television Episode 2 (October 12, 2006).

ReinventingTV061116d

Another show that I thought was cool, interesting and innovative was scriggity (scriggity.com). Eventually, I met and hung out with Drew @ several NYC events, including Videoblogger Meetups, Network2 get-togethers and PodCampNYC.

Meanwhile, I was gearing up to do my own show… I mean, I *HAVE* my own “show” already, but it’s more like a feed of stuff that I do day in and day out. It’s not a actual show, but rather an indication of what it’s like to be me on any given day. So… I was gearing up to do an actual show and started filming episodes of “The Lab”.

What I found out, and outlined in my notes about the project… was that while I enjoy MAKING shows, I don’t enjoy the rest of the process. The “paperwork”, as I call it of all the stuff that has to be done PAST production and post.

Interestingly enough, Drew decided that he doesn’t want to edit. πŸ˜€ We chatted this morning, and I’ve joined “Team SCRIGGITY”, and we’re looking forward to big things. πŸ˜€ I always enjoy doing projects with friends, and I’ve been a fan of Drew’s concepts for a long time now. Thanks to Drew for the nod, and…

it’s ON!!! and it happens to be POPPIN’!!! πŸ˜€


billcammack

Twitter Has “Ruined” My Life

For those of you that don’t know what twitter is… Basically, it’s a DIY (do it yourself) chat room. You choose people that you want to “follow”, and you can see when they type something to the twitter site. People can choose to follow YOU, and they’ll see what you type to twitter. There’s no forced mutual following, so sometimes, it’s a one-sided deal. You can see what someone’s saying, but they can’t see what you’re saying… which is unfortunate for them when they ask a question that you “tweet” (somehow the verb form of twitter…… meaning each entry should be called a TWIT or the site should be called TWEETER, but anyway…) the answer to and then an hour later, you see them ask again if anyone has a solution for them. πŸ˜€

I think twitter’s more effective in areas where people are in relatively close proximity to each other or at least can get to where other twitterers (tweeters?) indicate that they are or that something’s going on. It’s extremely useful during conferences, like SXSW or PodCampNYC. Twitter works on cell phones as well as computers, so people on-the-go can still find out the latest information, ASAP. The benefit here is that instead of texting… or, could you imagine, actually CALLING several people to tell them where you’re about to have lunch, or what floor you’re hanging out on and with whom


Photo Credit: Jared Klett

… You can make one “tweet,” and everyone that’s following you receives the same information at the same time. (PS – If you don’t know what twitter looks like, you can see it on my macbook pro screen on the right side of the picture.)

So, by now, you’re saying “All I’ve heard is positives!” πŸ˜€ Yes. That’s true. πŸ™‚ I think twitter is a very positive thing, or at least it CAN be. It all depends on how you use it. If you clutter your “friends list” with people that don’t do anything, but seem to always have something to say about the NOTHING they do all day, then it’s a waste of your time and energy to read the feed. That’s not my ‘problem’… it’s exactly the opposite! :O

The first day I became aware of twitter, I ‘crawled’ through my friends’ friends lists and added people that I thought might be interesting to follow. I was doing something that day, and I don’t remember what, but I remember doing just ONE thing… πŸ™‚ So I happened to have added someone that appears to be an actress. A “tweet” comes up that she’s heading wherever to meet with whomever. I’m like “ok”….. Then, while I’m still doing the same thing, and time doesn’t really seem to have moved at all, another tweet comes up from her saying that NOW she was heading to a different location to do something else. I’m like “ok”….. So while I was sitting there, still doing the same thing… over the course of the day, she did at least SIX THINGS in six different locations! :O I noticed how interesting it is to ‘eavesdrop’ on the goings-on of someone that’s in a profession you don’t know anything about, but I ALSO noticed that I could have done a lot more with my day than what I did while she was scurrying all over the place being effective.

I chalked it up as a fluke, but the same thing happened the next day and then the next day. To make matters worse, the rest of the people I added are workaholics also! πŸ˜€ So now, all day, every day, I get to hear about where they’re going and what they’re doing and who they’re meeting with and what’s happening in Second Life and what country they’re in and which conference is starting and who’s the keynote speaker and who’s broadcasting live on the Internet right now…..

On top of what they’re ACTUALLY DOING, I have to hear about what they think is interesting on the net, who made a new video, who didn’t get paid for the unauthorized use of their photo coughlanbuicough, what’s the latest social site somebody created, how to get invites to be a beta tester, what just crashed their browser, which phone shoots the better video, who updated their blog, what’s the latest HD camera that records MP4…..

And then, while you’re trying to be more productive with your day, AND you’re checking out all these links that people sent out so the tabs on the top of your browser are increasing and getting smaller and smaller… You get to find out who’s going to lunch at such and such a place, who’s going out for drinks later, who’s flying into town for the weekend, where the Wii Sports tournament’s going to be, which bar is giving out free beer RIGHT NOW!, the sun just came out over Central Park, the party’s moving from location X to location Y….. So now, instead of having the excuse that you don’t know if anything’s happening tonight or this weekend and actually getting to USE the time that you had allotted to being more productive, which was ALSO spurred on by twitter… You’re hanging out all the time, to the wee hours of the morning, then spending the better part of the next day updating your flickr set! πŸ˜€

Oh, yeah… It also doesn’t help that people live in different time zones. :/ When you’re in the middle of your day, people are talking about “GOOD MORNING FROM HAWAII,” then when you’re done, they’re talking about going out to lunch…

As you can see, the overall effect of this twitter phenomenon is that there are NEVER enough hours in a day anymore. :/ Every second you’re not running with the pack, you’re falling behind. Unfortunately, I don’t subscribe to slackers, so it’s always build, create, innovate, move, report, link, blog, videoblog, discuss, contemplate, debate….. You just have to do as much as you can and eventually call it a day. πŸ˜€

There is one downside-downside to twitter, and that’s when it CRASHES, and suddenly, you’re “flying blind”. Twitter has two types of crashes. Type-2 is complete denial of service. πŸ˜€ Either the site doesn’t come up at all or it comes up but doesn’t let you type anything and doesn’t give you any updates from anyone else either. You just sit there looking at this screen that says “so-and-so said whatever about 3 hours ago.” Suddenly you start trying to activate the telepathy that you just KNOW you have that will allow you to discernn where people are and what they’re doing, even though none of the “tweets” are coming through at all, hahaha. I suppose it’s the same way people feel when they open the fridge and find out that someone drank the last of the Kool-Aid and didn’t fill it back up! :O You just stare at the container, IMAGINING how good that Kool-Aid would have tasted… IF it were actually IN the container. :/

The Type-1 twitter-crash is way more frequent and way more frustrating! πŸ˜€ Twitter lets you type things, but then there are random occurrences right afterwards. What you typed mght disappear into thin air, and twitter acts like you never typed anything at all. It might appear in the list of “tweets”, but then, when you refresh, it’s gone. You can type something and what appears in the list is a duplicate of something you typed hours ago, competely replacing what you actually typed. “Tweets” show up out of order and randomly appear and then disappear upon refreshes. Etc, etc, etc… Anyway… Type-1 twitter-crashes inspire denial as well as disbelief as you realize your carefully crafted post, complete with hyperlinks, has been eaten by twitter and if you didn’t select it and copy it before pressing “Update,” you have to start all over again.

You can imagine the effect these crashes have on the twitter-dependent… suddenly scurrying to use email, instant messaging and telephones to try to find out what’s going on… one.person.at.a.tiiiiiime… πŸ˜€ It’s not for the faint of heart. So beware, and be aware! πŸ˜€ Watch out for the effects of TMI (too much information). If you recognize it starting to be too much, take a bunch of people off of your “friends list” to slow down the traffic to only relevant information that’s useful to YOU… or Just.Say.No! πŸ˜€

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