Every so often a technology comes along that supercedes or leapfrogs over other previous technologies to make what was once complex and difficult, facile and simple.
Live streaming from your phone has been around for a number of years but never before been married to the ubiquity of an entity like Twitter.
People are now able to stream immediately through the @periscopeco or @appmeerkat apps and show their POV, through video, to the waiting world.
As someone who earns a greater part of their living making quality live video streams you’d think I’d be rather worried about these new apps that democratise the process of being able to broadcast from anywhere anytime. I don’t, because over the years I’ve learned one thing: to keep ahead in any innovative technology that might or might not be a game changer – less is more.
I am sure over the next few months there will be a plethora of live video streams from every conceivable POV and it will be extremely useful in education and in educational events like TeachMeets and Research Ed. These are to be welcomed for it gives access to people who have neither the time nor the money to attend. It helps instantiate, further, a feeling of community; if only a very good digital simulacrum of that community.
Once again we are at the goldrush stage of everyone staking a claim on this media but remember the smart people in any goldrush make money out of the prospectors and not the gold before moving away, quickly, from the boom town as soon as the pickings become sparse.
But I also think mainstream broadcast news will change just as it did, when on the day of the London Tube Bombings, a poster on Moblog put up an image of survivors of the bombed train from his phone and it quickly went viral on mainstream broadcast news around the planet (it wasn’t credited at first either) . There will, inevitably, be the video equivalent and many more instances of tragic serendipity that will bring forth a gruesome inflorescence for our collective curiosity; an obscene voyeurism now democratised and available at the swipe of a finger.
It is a wonderful technology – let us hope we can use it wisely.
The more we get used to real time “mediated” events – the more they will become the norm – an expectation but also, I suspect, in the long run, a curse.