Friday, 28 August 2015

Theories on Live Video and Chat - Private Public with Appear.in Blab.im

10 Sep 2015 update - all of what I've said here is valid, but you may like to know I've moved on to look at how YouTube have made it very easy to live stream.

And as YouTube has a billion users, my theory: make life easy for yourself. In other words, a youtube player will open everywhere on the web (unlike some emerging platforms and URLs).

For the next step, I'm looking at how you can curate a multi user video feed, some images and text, along with any shared screens to make an experience your very own (see the Live Streaming label at this site).

28 Aug 2015 as follows ..


This post builds on two recent posts: Social Video using webRTC and Blab.im live video and chat for the Police.

Blab.im have declared they will do Public not Private where Appear.in have said they do Private not Public - this could easily be a match made in heaven (heaven of course being the cloud).

Before we get ahead of ourselves, to run webRTC video you'll need a mobile phone/tablet, preferably with a quad core processor (my moto g first gen does just fine) or a newish desktop machine (my old win7 duo core was just too old, where my new quad core laptop is just effortless).

This post is about the people behaviour that layers over the technology - a little like brightly coloured icing encapsulating a sponge cake. Without the sponge, the icing would dry as a gooey mess with no form.

The real message is to look at how a tree works - nutrients are uptaken in by the roots and make their way up inside the trunk while ending chemically transformed at the further reaches of a branch.

If we, as people visit a tree we may stand on level ground - we may decide to water the roots or look up in awe at the beauty. Blab.im and Appear.in could work in much the same way.     

For a Blab to develop as a successful platform it must has an organised and disciplined network. There are two examples here, 1, users know about blab, visit the site and watch or 2, a user has never heard of blab like at all, but does have an interest in a tweet or post that includes a blab link where they are invited to watch.

For those new to the idea, 80% of news websites (if not all sites these days) have readers who never see the front page of the website. Any google search will prove this as the power is in the link (not the homepage URL).

Think of blab as a baby octopus (or a squid if you like), albeit a supernatural one at that. It must grow a million successful tentacles that reach into every imaginable community to survive. One of those arms ongoing is how the Police are using Blab - I would say 90% of those officers did not using the blab homepage, but rather were passed a blab link for twitter, trusted it and joined in seconds. 

Those who organise a Blab broadcast must put in the hard work of planning in private - so the viewer does not have to. So much is the need to go Live immediately that it's an ever decreasing circle of impending doom - a viewer can sniff out a lack of planning faster than a teacher listening to a the dog ate my homework cliche.

Private versus Public Kudos for Blab in making a video platform in public, but with that comes, to quote Jeff Jarvis, This brings us to another argument against public identity: It turns us into egotistical exhibitionists. We share everything, down to the most intimate and mundane  (Jarvis, 2009, page 233). This syndrome is not unique to blab - it's all over the internet wherever we look.

Thankfully, a very easy fix - plan in private, use a shared google doc for noting a show timeline and make sure you get to know each other's pattern - and that can only be done in private. For I've yet to meet a person who is exactly the same in private as they are in public.

Although I've named appear.in as a private and brilliant webRTC video chat, there are others like hangouts, skype, firefox hello, facetime and my main meeting place: zoom.us (I can get 100 people in a video call and 900 more to watch in private, all with crystal clear screen sharing, annotation, remote control and stop start recording).

10 Sep update, try out room.co too, it's from the Spreecast team (help pages). 

Personality versus Information Public Social Video in its purest form is like a market square or even a colosseum - anyone can just turn up and lobby for attention. Personality will only get you so far, until the information takes over. 

In the UK, we've a phrase: to blag or blagging - it means to, convince another person that all the stuff you just made up is in fact true and worthy (or convince by rhetoric). such as .. caught in a tight spot, Harry blagged his way through the conversation and somehow got the job (web ref definitions 3 and 4). You may like to know blab means: reveal secrets by indiscreet talk.

I see to blab or to blag as the fact or the fiction or the information versus the personality. Of course in an ideal world we would have the best of both - an infectious and likeable person we implicitly trust. 

For me, it's a matter of looking to the future knowing we'll amass so much video content we cannot ever make sense of. In one recent blab of six recorded hours, I stumbled upon 4hrs 38 mins for content about the police - there was no real way to timestamp it, or immediately share those 10 mins, let alone find it again.

So in the spirit of a military briefing or a sports timeout huddle - make every word count and be brief and to the point.

With a decent script, some backstage planning and successful public broadcast, we could create something so great that users will distribute it virally (another Jarvis quote).

Blab as a group table in a Library - Four seats, anyone can join, the audience sit on a few benches nearby and listen. The big question here - who will bring the books, the homework and the ideas - would you really just let someone join who waltzes in the entrance and expects a seat at the table with no planning? 

For me, it's like opening a blab on the Migrant Crisis in Europe and going Live Video in 30 secs - when in reality we need what, a few hours at least to distill what we know, correct what we think we know and reach out to a few minutes or days in the future.

If you were the blab host and you had to bet your life on filling two or three seats with the best people you know - bet you would choose very carefully.

For me personally as a real world teacher, someone who's outgrown a traditional school classroom, I look to solve problems rather than gather or impart learning just for information's sake.

That's why I do what I do - and that's also why I'm not convinced blab is for me to take up a seat in a discussion, but rather sit out of view to think hard and chat even harder to learn what the future holds for Blab as the baby squid..  

This post is incomplete and may be updated as and when I do my homework and bring new evidence and argument to this table ..

tree slide credit:  the trouble with roots ..

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