You.tv – A New Chapter in Lifecasting is Already Unfolding

Please read Part I prior to reading this article. Also, please scroll down and press pause to stop the inbound video feeds until you’re ready.

The new world of lifecasting through video, a la Justin.tv, and through other flow apps such as Twitter, Jaiku and Tumblr, are lessons in Internet culture, communication and proof that narcissism can be a powerful driver for technology adoption.

In my last several posts, I’ve documented the migration of text-based streams. In this post, I’d like to review the forthcoming onslaught of You.tv lifecasters that are going to give online viewers their own version of online reality programming that will eclipse everything on broadcast, cable, and satellite television today.

On the surface, it’s easy to mistake this movement for narcissism, or as Chris Pirillo calls it, “The Narcissytem.” This perceived aura of self-importance is actually nothing new. Afterall, this is the generation that believes that they are all rock stars and therefore behave accordingly. The difference is that now they have the tools and the technology readily available for them to now also become TV stars.

I call this You.tv.

You.tv is far more valuable to the reality of what is, what will be, and what’s possible. It is an inevitable reality and it will deprive you of countless, precious hours whether you’re producing or watching – or both. It’s already underway.

As I mentioned in my last post on the subject, that Justin.tv was much more than novelty, it was the beginning of mobile lifecasting. I stated that regardless of what the future held for Justin.tv, that it would inspire others to replicate his programming by simply living life through their own digital eye. I did not however, realize how quickly this would transpire.

Last night we (bub.blicio.us) co-sponsored a one month milestone party along with Scott Beale of Laughing Squid. While I was prepared to promote the event one last time, I was distracted by the buzz on Twitter that Robert Scobe was experimenting with a live video stream (dubbed the Scoblecam), which he was planning to debut at the Web 2.0 Expo on Monday. In fact, Scoble previewed the capability by broadcasting his family’s drive up to Merced.

Jeremiah Owyang shortly after, announced that he too would broadcast live from the Web 2.0 Expo. In fact, he wrote an incredible piece detailing how to do it yourself.

Chris Pirillo set all of this in motion when he announced and demonstrated his ability to lifecast – live.

What do they all have in common? Whereas the Justin.tv crew creating their own broadcast platform, Scoble, Pirillo and Owyang are utilizing Chris Yeh’s new up-and-coming lifecasting network, Ustream.tv.

Ustream.tv is the Youtube of lifecasts and it’s providing lifecasters with an intuitive and feature-rich platform to start broadcasting their own You.tv channel. While the network needs basic aesthetic improvements, the infrastructure is impressive.

Is this too much, as asked by Matthew Ingram and further discussed by Scoble? No way. It’s not about those that don’t find it fascinating, it’s about that people that do.

As Jeremiah points out, all you need is a notebook, extended batteries, a webcam, a mobile EVDO or 3G connection, and a Ustream.tv account. I’ll add that either courage or a big ego is also a prerequisite for a mobile lifecast.

The other important ingredient is people. Without anyone watching, then it really is nothing more than egocasting.

What sets Justin.tv apart from the rest? Well, so far he’s the only one who’s 1) monetized it and 2) broadcasts 24/7. Justin.tv is so far the Web’s most ambitious, and proven, You.tv lifecast. How long that will last is numbered. However, with every new lifecast that goes online, the world of entertainment and programming will forever be changed.

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  • henriette weber andersen

    hi –

    excellent post, I am so fascinated with all these “transitional web apps” that brings the community of the web nearer your personal life. still I would argue that the transitional web apps needs to have a presence of ” you” as well as the narcissism of me to make it work. Otherwise you get a feeling of “I am talking to myself again”…

  • Brian Solis

    Hi Henriette, thank you for your feedback I agree. “You” as a collective of like-minded people is a key ingredient to the success of you.tv.

  • bill streeter

    I think calling it “entertainment” programing is a bit of a stretch. There really isn’t much that is entertaining in any of these “lifecasts.” And without real entertainment content this stuff is just a fad.

  • Robert Scoble

    Bill: I almost agreed with you until I started watching CNN and Fox and found wall-to-wall coverage of Anna Nicole Smith.

    Knowing that Brian had a tuna salad for lunch would be FAR more entertaining than THAT!

    The problem with our society is millions of people wanted to watch Anna Nicole Smith 24 hours a day.

    Translation: we haven’t even started to drill the depths of banality (or audience aggregation potential) with this kind of media yet.

    Sorry.

  • Billy Donovan

    I just got a data plan on my mobile. I pretty much do not need my computer anymore since I do so much with my mobile phone. The neatest thing is that I can even watch naughty movies:) It is pretty neat, it’s called Mobile TV. All I do is point my phone to sexoncell.com and they have adult mobile movies in different formats like 3gp movies, symbian, pda or whatever. If you have any other cool sites, please let me know! This one, though, even has a free daily mobile movie.

ABOUT ME

Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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