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Ustream, Justin… when have we gone too far?
Update: Corsin sent over a twitter, aim, skype, irc, and text sms that Matthew Ingram wrote about the same topic yesterday. His article is here. I guess I am not alone with my views or he is not alone with his views.
When have we gone too far? When Justin.tv launched, I started to ask myself this question and again looked at my 2007 prediction that we will spend more time offline than in 2006. First we had chats such ad MUDs where people used virtual worlds to chat with other people. I remember using it in college to talk with other buddies about girls we liked. There might have been something before this but this is the first I remember.
I also can think back to the days of calling into a BBS. Oh how much money I spent on several BBSs over short periods of time.
Then we moved to the world of IRC where chatting was a 24×7 process. Bots, fighting, takeovers, etc. and we learned more and more about people. Multiple networks showed up and now even include the Dateline NBC show on online fraud. Of course there was also AOL chat with thousands of rooms. I remember speaking with many people who would not go to sleep just to not lose their nicknames.
Then we moved to instant messaging. First one I remember hitting it big was ICQ. I had a very low number that seemed to get me some street cred when I gave it out. It was a good app as it brought people together in new ways. You could communicate with people directly without the channel crap. It was more secure.
Then AIM came along and owned the market for a time. And so and and so on. And don't forget the first webcam channels. Those were classic.
Then Geocities came around (and now MySpace) that let us have our own little space online. Today sites such as MySpace, YouTube and blogs allow us to create our own world where people can peek into our lives.
Cell phones now do pictures and video and get us the best shots of news events. YouTube made us all movie directors and brought us as close to live as we have ever been.
Now we have twitter. Pete calls twitter the ultimate cat blog application. If you use it for your personal life, I find many times there is just too much information. I don't care that you are walking your dog, or that you are putting up a new Boys II Men poster on your bedroom wall. If used effectively, twitter can be a good networking and group tool. But knowing that Jason just came back from a 30 minute walk is not necessary and just shows fan boy necessity.
Now I see UStream.tv has gone full steam ahead. What does it do? It let's you stream yourself using a webcam and a laptop and a wireless/wifi internet connection. So let me ask my question again… when have we gone too far? You can watch video blogger Robert Scoble walk around Web 2.0 Expo. I hope he remembers that he is live. Will people be reluctant to speak to him since every single word is being captured for all eternity? I know on my interviews, many of the interviewees ask to do a retake at least once during the interview. And will the Ron Popeil's of the world flood this new medium with every ginsu knife and rotisserie? How will spammers use this new medium or is it spammer-proof?
Why is there a need to be connected at every minute of every day. Michael Arrington took a day off and felt bad about it. Are we setting a new standard that you must be completely live 24×7 365 to be successful? Remember, we are the ones that moved (and accepted) the work day from 9-5 to 24×7. We started it, we have accepted it.
Maybe I am right and all of these live shows are just a fad and people will remember that not everything needs to be televised. Or maybe I am wrong and this is the new TV. Forget watching friends that is scripted… just watch xyz person and their live friends show every minute of every day. As hard as it is, sometimes it's nice to get out in the fresh air (or the NYC nor'easter we have here). There's my rant/thoughts/ramblings for today :) Feel free to bash.