Way back in the mists of time, Internet-wise, there was Jenni-cam — a camera (and later, cameras) trained upon Jennifer Ringley 24 hours a day, regardless of what she was doing. That seemed kind of weird, but after awhile it wasn’t really that weird at all. Now there’s Stickam, where hundreds of people stream their video-cameras, and Justin.tv and now Ustream.tv, which lets anyone create their own personal version of the movie EdTV.

scoble.jpgNot content to let Justin have all the fun, geek trailblazers Robert Scoble and Chris Pirillo have been experimenting with Ustream. At one point today, I was watching Chris Pirillo’s webcam, which was broadcasting video of him watching Robert Scoble’s webcam, which was broadcasting video of him driving in the car. Fascinating stuff. About the only interesting part of the whole process was the discovery that a bunch of people seem to think Chris Pirillo’s new wife Latthanapon “Ponzi” Indharasophang is hot (and he agrees).

Is there such a thing as too much information? Twitter allows Scoble to update me and several thousand other people on his location every couple of minutes, and it’s the reason I know Jason Calacanis was in Barcelona. Thanks to Ustream, I know that Scoble was in the passenger seat on his drive with Maryam, and that it was raining — and I know that Chris Pirillo has two 21-inch (or possibly 30-inch) monitors on his desk.

What is the purpose of all this knowing? Who knows. As trivial as it all sounds — Chris calls it the “narcissystem,” which I think is pretty close to the mark — I did find it fascinating to listen to him describing how when he heard there was an earthquake, he got one of his Twitter followers in Acapulco to give him his Skype ID and interviewed him on the spot, with others conferenced in via a free teleconference service. Is this the future? Are we on our way to the metaverse?

Update:

Allan Stern at Centernetworks has some thoughts along the same lines, and so does Brian Solis. Jeremiah Owyang has more about the setup that Ustream did for both him and Scoble, which is similar to what Justin uses, and Rick Mahn makes an interesting point in Jeremiah’s comments: What if people had these rigs during the U.S. election campaign? Now that would be interesting. If I were Ustream CEO Chris Yeh, I would get together with Huffington Post and NewAssignment.net for their “crowdsourcing” Politics 2.0 experiment.

Interesting point from Jason at Webomatica, who says that “these real-time technologies rather seem like a step backwards to the days where you had to be at a certain place and time and pay attention or you missed it.”

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36 Responses to “Twitter, Ustream — how much is too much?”
  1. Mathew,

    The lead investor in Ustream here. I too have been fascinated by the adoption of the Ustream service. I’m fond of telling people that live video is inferior to recorded in almost every way except one–it is truly interactive.

    I don’t think anyone knows where the interactivity will take us, but I’ll bet it’s going to be interesting.

  2. […] Matthew Ingram asks “Is there such a thing as too much information?” and “is this the future?” […]

  3. […] Mathew Ingram points out, all this Twittering, UStreaming and Stickaming is narcissism taken to the max. Hence, time for a […]

  4. You know, I think we have reached — or are rapidly reaching — the limits to what “real time” or merely massively-increased information can offer us as a society.

    Ask yourself:
    – Does the additional information help me be more productive?
    – Does it make me happier?
    – Does it make me a better person?

    If the answer to all three is NO, then… well, that says something, doesn’t it?

    I’m trying out Twitter. But so far, I’ve had to answer NO to all three questions above about it. More information, quicker information does not inherently = better lives. And for the love of dog, I have no interest in watching videos of narcissists. Justincam? Have these folks (Justin and the folks following him) such empty lives?

    If anything, I ludditingly long for the days in which we “consumed” less and thought more. Nowadays — perhaps in the blogosphere in particular — so much sound and fury, signifying little.

  5. Pirillo’s “new wife” (did she arrive via Windows Update or some other upgrade mechanism?) notwithstanding, I really hope this isn’t the future. Good grief. It really is too much.

  6. […] Twitter, Ustream — how much is too much? » mathewingram.com/work: “is this the future?” no actually, its the past with better technology, upstream bandwidth and different people other than cam-whores on the other end of the CCD. Stickam, UStream, et al are just making easier what has existed in both the seedy underbelly of the Internet (NetMeeting hubs, CUSEEME, etc) and just is “there.” Chris, Robert, etc are evolving technologically, and certainly connecting things in interesting fashions, but aren’t doing anything revolutionary at all. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. […]

  7. Thanks for the comment, Chris. It certainly will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

    Adam and Juha, I feel much the same as you do.

  8. I think the journalistic possibilities – live streaming with a webcam and an EVDO card – are far more interesting than the “watch me scratch my nose” applications.

    Toss a tablet PC and a webcam that plays well with a service like ustream into three or four reporters’ backpacks, and suddenly you have a live feed playing on your site when news breaks.

  9. I agree, Ryan.

  10. One interesting development at Ustream is that last week I spent some time on the phone with someone from a well-known NGO. They plan to use Ustream to broadcast live from within their public protests. It’s this kind of immediacy and first-person POV that I think will provide a shot in the arm for television journalism.

    I also agree with some of the other commentors, who worry about information overload. One thing that Ustream will have to work on is some kind of real-time discovery and filtering mechanism. The “traditional” methods of Digg, del.icio.us, et al, will not suffice for live video.

  11. […] The First Law of Ambient Broadcasting (Or, Twitter) April 15th, 2007 at 11:52 am by Tony As it refers to the evolving discussion around the rapidly evolving technologies which are able to track and broadcast your activities 24/7, such as Twitter or Ustream, Mathew Ingram asks the question that begs to be asked: “How Much Is Too Much?” […]

  12. […]Is this too much, as asked by Matthew Ingram and further discussed by Scoble? […]

  13. […] software, twitter, live scoble.tv, etc… all are new growing media technologies.   The discussion is not about how these new approaches will pan out… there is no doubt a role for live streaming or lifecasting or whatever… how the […]

  14. […] There’s a definite trend towards using technology to further enable the “narcissystem” (awesome term). Recent evidence includes the explosive use of Twitter, Justin.TV, and now Ustream, duly noted by Mathew Ingram. […]

  15. […] is my reaction to the latest post on techmeme titled “Twitter, Ustream — how much is too much?“. By Zaid Farooqui In Blogosphere, Business, Entrepreneurship April 15, 2007 10:09 […]

  16. […] At one point today, I was watching Chris Pirillo’s webcam, which was broadcasting video of him watching Robert Scobleâ… Fascinating stuff. About the only interesting part of the whole process was the discovery that a […]

  17. […] der US Blogosphere vergleicht man bereits UStream mit Twitter, also livegestreamtes Eierkraulen (siehe weitere Berichte auf Tailrank). […]

  18. […] becoming apparent that streaming live personal video content will be a hit this year, creating too much information, right here, right now – but do we really really need […]

  19. […] Matthew Ingram asks “Is there such a thing as too much information?” and “is this the future?” […]

  20. As the Monty Python guys would say, ” this is entirely too silly.”

    I was hoping the justin tv thing would die out after the obligatory 15 minutes of idiocy but it seems more people are getting on the bandwagon.

  21. […] gefunden auf: chris.pirillo.com und mathewingram.com […]

  22. Mathew,

    Do you know the Huffington Post folks? Would love an intro!

    –Chris Yeh (Ustream investor)

  23. Chris: Why don’t you ping me offline.

  24. […] Twitter suffer the same fate that Friendster did? There are already discussions regarding Twitter’s downfall, so maybe this new Facebook feature goes down the middle, and […]

  25. […] to see how the use of live web video evolves. It already has critics. Mathew Ingram asks: “how much is too much?” Brian Solis points out that, while on the surface it appears that “narcissism” […]

  26. Hey if you go to http://www.mystreams.tv your viewers can stream too and it’s instant streaming!

  27. […] Your Life Away… This is a test post using the built in blogging tool in Flock… Twitter, Ustream — how much is too much? » mathewingram.com/work: “is this the future?” no actually, its the past with better technology, upstream bandwidth and […]

  28. […] We’re already revising with some short form ‘blog rings’ forming of specialized contributors to spell me in different areas of expertise (social media, virtual worlds, food marketing, etc.) so I can dial down my OWN media volume and focus on delegating a bit to implement our own strategic plan. As Matthew Ingram of The Globe and Mail, Toronto, asks in his own blog… […]

  29. Ustream and other streaming portals have all missed the target, except for maybe stickam and mogulas.

    Chris Pirillo is a lost soul within the internet cyberspace, and Scobal is as interesting as a bag of hot air.

    If you think that ustream can hold the tech savvy user for maybe a year you might be right, but for the average user, most are gone within a month.

    Many people are starting to realize that ustream can not satisfy.

    But dont let my comment stop you from the Ustream revolution. Just remember You get what you get.

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  31. […] this too much, as asked by Matthew Ingram and further discussed by Scoble? No way. It’s not about those that […]

  32. [twitter] Twitter, Ustream — how much is too much? http://tinyurl.com/9l3pdy

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