McAdams On: Going Live Online
12/11/2009 2:29:30 PM
If I hear old school one more time, I might go postal. Except for going postal
is probably old school. Ambivalence over egalitarian live Web broadcasting is
probably old school, too. Allow me to fetch my teeth so I can chew this fat.
Much was made of the news this week that Apple adopted a live streaming app for
the iPhone. Now iPhoners can iPhone in live video of themselves or whomever
doing heaven only knows what on the app Web site, Ustream. I went there and
watched a young woman earnestly strum a guitar and sing painfully off-key.
Thanks to the wonders of technological innovation, I was able to feel a
combination of dread and pity for a total stranger.
It’s not as if live Webcasting is entirely new. All one needed up to this point
is a Web cam and a URL. The majority of folks uploaded video, however, giving
them time to perhaps rethink the impulse.
We’ve all played with the medium. We’re all on WordPress, Linkedin, Twitter,
Orkut, Ammado, Plaxo, YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Tripit, TypePad, Classmates,
Flickr, Goodreads, Blip and Meetup like a swarm of pseudosocial butterflies. I
remember when getting a story meant putting on a headlamp, climbing a tree with
ropes and saddles, showing up backstage, shadowing someone, haunting certain
coffee shops. Now it’s about being plugged into the matrix and Twittering
yourself all over the place.
I’m baffled this stuff holds anyone’s interest longer than it takes to Tweet
something. Perhaps that’s because I’m old school.
I’m also ambivalent because I do appreciate the way the Internet allows anyone
to market themselves. I appreciate being able to find just about any type of
music other than the endless blargh of “classic rock” that clogs traditional
radio. It’s nice that the video medium isn’t just the domain of a few movie
studios and TV production houses, but rather anyone with a Flip.
But we are not all stars. Even most of the folks considered stars seem a bit
tedious. Let us put down our collective need to be special and acknowledge our
mediocrity There are 6.8 billion of us skittering around on this wet rock,
folks. We ain’t none of us all that, though I am fan of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Unfortunately, Mme. Suu Kyi will be unlikely to stream anything live on the
Internet anytime soon.
Kudos in the meantime to Chrysler for making a statement that could otherwise not be
made in Burma. Hence the wonder of this medium, also a conduit for the substantial
assemblage that cannot spell, punctuate or otherwise think an original thought.
Now this group has another way to display their particular set of skills. We
must alert the media. Oh, that’s right... they are the media.
We hacks are just old school.