Broadcasting the Inauguration Live on Qik

Since about 4am this morning, I’ve been able to look out the window of my apartment and see a steady stream of people walking towards the Capitol Building for the Inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States.

As long as the AT&T network works and my iPhone battery holds up, I’ll be broadcasting what I see live on Qik.  Just go to this address: – http://qik.com/justinthorp

Stop by and join one of my streams.  It’d great to have a conversation with folks across the country as we experience today together.

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The Power of Live

For Christmas, I had a fantastic time back in Michigan spending time with my parents and enjoying the snow :-).   My sister and brother-in-law were supposed to join us but because of outside circumstances they weren’t able to.

Because this weekend is both my brother-in-law and mom’s birthday, my sister and bro-in-law made the trip up to Michigan so that they could all spend sometime together but I’m still here in Washington D.C.  We were thinking, despite the distance, how could we still be able to enjoy spending some time together, especially watch my sister and bro-in-law open up the present that I got them. 🙂

We ended up opening up iChat, powering up the iSight cameras, and going live on camera so that I could be there without being there.  It worked perfectly. I was able to feel connected to what was going on with my family despite being hundreds of miles away.

This really got me thinking about the power of live.  I can imagine how amazing it must have been when television stations were able to go live to a scene.  How cool is it now that that power is in the hands of everyone with a computer and Internet access?

I just put Qik on my iPhone.  I’m excited for the next few days, as Washington DC welcomes the entire world, for the Inauguration.  I want to be on the ground broadcast live all of the things that the news cameras aren’t going to show you.

I don’t know if anyone will watch my live coverage but how long before CNN is cutting to amateur Qik photographers.  How long before CNN doesn’t exist anymore and you have whole news networks built by citizens running around pointing their cameras at the world they seeing happening before them?

Congress Joins YouTube; Starting a Community or Just More of the Same?

So… the United States Congress has just joined YouTube.  There are now hub pages for both the US Senate and the US House of Representatives.

From there, you can find videos of politicians giving speeches and at committee meetings. This is all stuff that to some extent you could get before, through things like C-SPAN.

What interests me more are the behind the scenes videos they’re posting.  They could do so much to use the YouTube channel to be more transparent about what is going on.

What’d be even cooler is if a Congressman walked into his office, opened up the lid of his MacBook, and was like “hey, let’s ask a question of my constituents and see what happens.”    They could use video comments to really get a conversation going.

I’d be more impressed if a Congressman decided to use Seesmic over YouTube.

We don’t need/want just another medium for politicians to spew talking points.  We have that already with the news talk shows.

It’s time to start building communities and forming relationships.

Broadcasting My Sister’s Wedding Live on Ustream

I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of broadcasting events live over the Web but never really had the opportunity.  When I jokingly suggested that my sister let me broadcast her wedding, I totally excpected her to say “no way in heck.”  She blew me away and said yes. 🙂

My sister and her now husband Adam have some good friends in Bosnia, where they’d done some mission work together, that wouldn’t be able to make it to the wedding.  Broadcasting the wedding on the Web would be perfect for them.

I chose Ustream.  I had used them before to watch other events.  I have a few friends that use them  A LOT and speak highly of them.  Plus I’d met and gotten to know some of the staff at Ustream at various industry events that I’d been to.

It was SUPER easy to setup.  I literally plugged an old iSight camera into m MacBook pro.  I went to Ustream.  I hit broadcast and record.  That was it.   You can now watch the video right on Ustream.

Friends from around the country and around the world were able to join us for this incredibly exciting event.  Ustream helped to bring my sisters “global neighborhood” together.

I’m truly blown away by how easy it was.

More and more in our lives, we’re creating personal communities for ourselves that transcencds the typical local geographic boundaries.  As was demonstrated this weekend, we can now share the experiences we have in our life with our entire community, not just the folks that can physically be there.

So… we can broadcast weddings live online.  What’s next? Someone’s already done a birth, which is kind of gross.  Gary Vaynerchuk does a great job of using ustream to talk to his community during breaks he has during his day to day.

What else?

Will I get rid of my cable television in 2008?

eMarketer recently released an interesting report on online video consumption:

eMarketer projects that nearly 80% of US Internet users will watch online video at least once a month in 2008. A great indicator that online video has hit a mainstream audience is that 52.5% of all Americans or 154 million people will watch online video in 2008.

With online video hitting more of a mainstream audience, will 2008 be the year that I can give up cable television for good?  I did a brief stint without it in 2007.