The Gillmor Gang with Steve Gillmor, Jon Udell, Dana Gardner, Mike Vizard, and Doc Searls is back on the air. This is good news, as I like these guys. This week, the special guest was Adam Curry, podcaster extraordinairre. Overall, it was a very pleasant show, but I do have a few beefs with the group’s glossing over the potential of video and videoblogging.
What they had to say wasn’t harsh, but Steve Garfield and Robert Scoble both agreed with me that they were (in Robert’s words) poopooing on video. It amazes me, no more than a year after podcasting hits it big, how Adam and the rest of the gang can completely dismiss a medium that is showing so much potential. I sat there listening to the entire podcast wishing it was in video so I could associate who was talking with the proper face, because I’m still not familiar with their voices. If you wanted a podcast, you could extract the audio and take it with you on your iPod and leave the video for people like me who listened to it in front of their computers.
I’m obviously biased here. If you’re here, you probably know that I’m an avid videoblogger. I think, as far as micro-media is concerned, videoblogging has far more potential to help people around the world really communicate than blogging or podcasting. It’s one thing to write about poverty, it’s another to tell me about poverty, but the difference between those two and showing me poverty, or war, or just life on the other side of the world is so vast to hardly make the first two worth mentioning.
Video has its issues right now, but mainly it has to do with getting the tools that are already in existance in people’s hands. Video is not hard to make anymore. I showed my wife how to make her own video with a $350 DV camcorder and iMovie on the Mac in nearly no time. Windows Movie Maker is equally as easy. Creating compelling video is no longer a technical challenge. Hosting video content is free, thanks to the work of the people at Ourmedia and The Internet Archive as well as Michael and Ryanne’s excellent work on Freevlog. The issues remaining to be solved are how to get that video to a place where people are comfortable watching it. We can already automatically sync video to your PSP (through FireANT for the PC) and we can already deliver video content to your television through services like Akimbo (my review coming this week and Steve Garfield has a video up watching videos on Akimbo now). The addition of more platforms for watching video is coming, and it’ll only make more accessible if watching it on your PC, your television through Akimbo or your PSP isn’t good enough now.
I think the content is already here, and better stuff is coming every day. I think podcasting is great for it’s niche, commuters and knowledge workers. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a big niche, but I think video offers the opportunity to really appeal to the masses. We’ll be able to use the work podcasting has done with RSS for easy distribution and create video content for every interest, just like podcasting has done, that people can and will want to watch from the comfort of their sofa. There will be videoblogs with 10 viewers and videoblogs with 100,000 viewers. The only limit to the quality of content we can create is time and money, and I think with the potential of the medium those problems will be easily solved. Video is so compelling, I absolutely see a near future where people who can create compelling content will have no problems using the Internet as their one and only distribution mechanism. Rocketboom may be the first to get there, and kudos to Andrew and Amanda if they do, but there will be many more to follow.
Videoblogging I think will also revolutionize the format of of how people watch video. Podcasting mirrors radio’s format almost exactly, with longer-format shows (in my experience, most seem to be 15 minutes to an hour). However, videoblogs have traditionally been shorter, from 2 to 5 minutes (most fall under 3 minutes), giving people a chance to keep up with a large group of publishers in a minimal amount of time. Adam Curry mentioned in his last podcast that podcasts will have to start getting shorter because of limits on people’s time, but we’ve realized that from the beginning. I always say, everyone’s life is interesting in 2-minute installments, and I think the short-form entertainment we’re pioneering will bleed into the mainstream, because it’s incredibly compelling.
The boat’s still in port on videoblogging, it’s a great time to hop on before we set sail. Steve, Doc, Jon, Mike, Dana, Adam, if you want to hop on, you’re more than welcome, but if you decide to let us leave without you, I think in a year you’ll have wished you were on board now.