I’m signing off

I am going backpacking, so this is my last post for the next 5 weeks. Enjoy the internet! I won’t be on it. I’m sensing the withdrawal symptoms already. I twitch.

In a kinda cool coincidence, Google introduced vacation responders yesterday, so that’s what you get if you attempt to email me. Try it! If you dare!

What is revlogging?

Revlogging is blogging about other videobloggers.

I’ve always felt that videobloggers don’t link enough to each other’s blogs and videos. It’s normal: with text blogs, you have a bookmarklet that makes it 1-step to quote someone and post your thoughts to your blog. For videoblogs, we don’t have a mechanism like that.

My first attempt to make revlogging easier was the QuoteThis tool in Mefeedia. It would let you create a SMIL movie that contains a quote of another movie, and post that to your blog by copying and pasting the HTML to your blog. I still think it’s a good idea, but the tool had 2 problems: the SMIL movies would often play very slowly (a limit of the technology), and there was no 1-click sending to your blog.

So my second attempt at encouraging revlogging is the new BlogThis tool in Mefeedia. This time it posts directly to your blog, and you can even drag and drop thumbnails of the video in your post (it’s a wysiwyg editor). I think this time it works. It becomes very easy to browse through Mefeedia, and the nice thing about Mefeedia is that it has pretty much complete archives of all videobloggers, and pretty good tags. You can BlogThis from anywhere on Mefeedia. The experience is a memory trip: your browse through tags and feeds you know, re-dsicover old videos, and blog them to your site, like I’ve been doing on this site for the past days. The whole thing just works.

The BlogThis still needs improvements, but the basic experience I think is solid. Browse around. Blog movies you find. What revlogging does is creating a web of links between videoblogs and videos, making videoblogs much easier to discover. Videoblogging needs revlogs.

“Richard Host Rocketboom (in his own mind)”

Is that a commodore 64? Oh my god That’s a Commodore 64!

Watch movie (Quicktime, 6.2 min, 25.2 MB)

Original post, from blip.tv (beta):

On the yahoo video blog list a discussion came up about what RocketBoom would be like if an old fat guy hosted it. My name came up (for some reason) and my friend Bill Streeter of Lo-Fi St. Louis set up a set for me and we put together this video. I also added an really great video from my new friend Paul Knight of PJKPRODUCTIONS.

(Via Mefeedia)

“Videoblogging Week 2005: Day 1”

It’s like going back in history. Videoblogging week (most videos of that week here) was a way to show to people that hey, everyone can make a video a day. That’s interesting. If you just force yourself.

Watch movie (Quicktime, 1.8 min, 6.5 MB)

Original post, from MICHAEL VERDI:

This is my first video for Videoblogging Week. It’s also available with captions here and you can now subscribe to my captioned video feed right here.

(Via Mefeedia)

“Remix Month”. Videobloggers have been doing this crazy stuff since the beginning. They remix each other, they do video pingpong games. They are social. In a way that the podcasters, as far as I can tell, are not. Perhaps it’s just the ability to see each other’s faces?

Watch movie (Quicktime, 2.6 min, 11.6 MB)

Original post, from blip.tv (beta):

“Sky”

Michael loves sky=blue. And he makes a video about it. “Just pause this video. And enjoy this color.”

You know what I really like about videoblogs? The various forms. Something like this could only be done in a videoblog. Or an art installation perhaps, but then nobody would see it. Unless it got bought by the Moma. But fuck that.

So videobloggers are experimenting with form. With different types of videoblogs. It’s quite naturally; everyone tries stuff. You notice what seems to work. You build on that. The early years of a new medium are great, that’s were a lot of the creativity lies. A lot of the exploration.

Watch movie (Quicktime, 1.1 min, 0.9 MB)

Original post, from Michael Verdi:

The sky has been incredible for the last two days! It’s inspiring. I love it.

(Via Mefeedia)

“The Adventures of Thomas Brin”

If you like sci-fi, you might like this. It’s weird. Bad. But not necessarily in a bad way. Check it out.

Watch movie (Quicktime, 3.1 min, 20.4 MB)

Original post, from Taylor Street Studio:

The Adventures of Thomas Brin is a sci-fi vlog serial in the tradition of Doctor Who. I love the flat space full of windows, doors and other frames. We’ve lost something with realistic CGI in movies. The deterritorialization that happens with blue screen puts us in a nether region – where sci-fi belongs. Note: Taylor Street Studio has split into other vlogs. This vlog/feed will be mostly me writing about and curating other peoples vlogs. My own vlogs/feeds are below: Deep Maps: How do new forms of networked and syndicated cinema change our experience of space and landscape? What should a travel vlog look like? Mostly a vlog to deposit my own video encounters with place, but also to…

(Via Mefeedia)

“VIDEO: Do not watch this video”

I filmed this in Jay’s appartment, like last year (or was it this year?). Anyways, it was scary. I still can’t watch this movie and be relaxed. I wouldn’t try this at home either, I don’t think it’s very healthy.

Watch movie (Quicktime, 0.8 min, 3.9 MB)

Original post, from Momentshowing

(Via Mefeedia)

“VIDEO: A Videoblog circa 2006”

Jay talks about his fears for 2006. Is videoblogging going to be co-opted? Is it gonna sell out? This video has some video to video conversations, edited together about the future of videoblogging.

As a sidenote: videobloggers don’t have noses this big, generally. It’s an effect of the cheap cameras. Closeups. For real.

Watch movie (Quicktime, 2.6 min, 5.1 MB)

Original post, from Momentshowing

(Via Mefeedia)

“I need Tylenol badly, but I can’t open it. So I’m asking steve to open it.”

Real life. Man. Jay was right when he focused on momentshowing. Moments are great.

Watch movie(Quicktime 4.1 min 13.2 MB)

Original post, from Steve Garfield’s Video Blog:

Everytime I go over to my mom’s, she’s got a list of things for me to help her with. This time she needed help with some Tylenol, Dental Floss and Shampoo. Click here for video. [ QuickTime ]

(Via Mefeedia)

What I like about the new Mefeedia

And what i don’t like ;) As you know, the Mefeedia directory is a side project, so there is always more to do.. But there are a few things I really like:

1) Browsing feeds is really nice now. You can go to http://mefeedia.com/feeds/44/ and just click “next feed”, “next feed” and so on, and get a really nice feel of the videoblogs out there. Next thing to do: add “related feeds”. I’m still figuring out an algorythm for that. Or go to http://mefeedia.com/feeds/reviewed/ to see the recently reviewed feeds.

2) You can add descriptions to a tag now, like a wiki. Try it. Example: http://mefeedia.com/tags/vloggercon/ I really like adding descriptions to tags, then clicking a related tag and describing that.

3) Tagging an entire feed. You can now go to a feeds details page (try your own feed) and just tag all the videos in the feed, right there on that same page. That rocks.

4) BlogThis! Revlogging! I love revlogging videos, and you can do it from any page, from a tag page, from a feed detail page, or from the watch page. I like that I can drag and drop images into my post and revlog straight to my blog.

There’s a lot I don’t like about the new Mefeedia too, of course :) That’s for another post. What do you like?

mefeedia WikiTags

My personal favourite new feature in Mefeedia is a tiny one that I decided to program in in a few hours. I’d been thinking about it for months. I call it WikiTags.

You can now write a wiki-like description for each tag. See screencasts for an example.

The thing I realized is that many tags are not really descriptive words, and could use a explanation. It’s an experiment, we’ll see how it goes. If you click the edit link you can find an RSS feed of all edits, which might be interesting.

Michael writes (below) about the Washington Post videoblog.

Watch movie(Quicktime 1.8 min 9.8 MB)

Original post, from mmeiser blog:

So, the Washington Post very quietly rolled out an RSS 2.0 video feed this last week. They may be the biggest media company to start vlogging (aka. “video podcasting”) yet, though who can keep track. Let’s take a look at one of their latest videos in their feed, shall we. The National Zoo’s giant panda cub Tai Shan made his public debut on Thursday before an adoring audience of all ages. Video: 120805-8v.m4v Some thoughts on what’s going on here… no homepage… no permalinks… no comments! … no trackbacks! Oye! They’re missing the whole point! I can’t believe they don’t at the very least have a ling to an associated article! makes a lot of sense for a traditionally print news company who doesn’t have access to the TV/Cable platform to move into IP based video media… let the floodgates open… I suspected that most of the early adoption would happen from those just outside the realm of satelite/cable media… small and large size publishing companies who want to leverage their knowledge and expertise… finding new ways to connect with their demographic… this is a primary example hmmm… putting a skip-able ad on a downloadable and editable file… genius’s eh? damn straight they are! big media companies have been WAY, WAY to uptight about their content with DRM and streaming media… such inaccessibility of content fuels black markets…. With content as accessible as this from the washington post why would anyone bother editing out the ad and redistributing or even skipping the add when the washington post has made it so convenient and easy just to download and watch it from anywhere anytime. Ubiquity, convenience, accessibility and usability will be the killers of p2p blacknets…. say hello to the lightnet of the future… open, accessible, social and beneficial to everyone. now that it’s not streaming media people can link directly to it and re-vlog it… even redistributing it to their friends… Just like I’m doing right now! how evil is that? Not at all! I’m giving the Washington Post free press and exposure… just by doing this I’m giving them somewhere around 300 to 400 new sets of eyeballs… Them and their advertiser… and yet I’m getting to explicitly reference and talk about the video will those who subscribe to my blog… That 300-400 people that will see this video… should they find it interesting may each pass it on to a 100 more… who may pass it on to 100 more.. Now that’s potentially a LOT of people… and no small matter! Just from one vlogger… Of course it depends on how interesting the subject matter is, but being able to share and explicitly reference media is one of the primary advantages of social media, aka open media, aka portable media. now that it’s not streaming media it can be taken anywhere… or at least put on the iPod… they need to use mp4 it’s not only compatible with the ipod but also the PSP and much easier to play on all platforms… expect vlogging such as this to expand to more platforms like the Tivo and elsewhere rather quickly in 2006. It’s already starting in fact. the content doesn’t have any narration and little editing! in fact without the text intro you might not even know what it was about. crazy! but it works… Actually they might want to put at least some minimal narration on it just in case it does get separated from it’s description the format is a short bit sized piece pertaining to only one story or issue… new media favors convenient bite size pieces of media that can quickly be sifted through, watched, referenced and shared… the content – I find this to be the most amazing aspect… even for a huge media company this content is perfectly typical vlog media, it’s just a slice of everyday life… simply some raw camcorder footage of new panda at the National Zoo! Not much different than making videos of your cat except a lot more people will find it interesting. Expect the quantity and quality of content to improve very quickly. In conclusion… this my friends IS the future of video based media… the VERY humble beginnings… It may not seem like much but the everything is in place, including the economics. When it becomes so ubiquitous and accessible that everyone is doing it and you can get everything and anywhere you want it and watch it anytime… well then these humble little pieces of micro-content are going to start changing things in a very, very profound way. But for now… one humble piece of content at a time eh. :) mefeedia – Washingtonpost.com Video

(Via Mefeedia)

“If you do it by yourelf, you’re a winner. But if you do it with someone else, someone is always a looser”.

One of the things that fascinates me with videoblogging is that almost everyone is interesting. In this movie, Verdi filmed his dad explaining why pulling a wishbone is a loosers game. And it’s fascinating. Somehow. I love this stuff. Daily life, if you pick the right moments, rocks.

Watch movie(Quicktime 3.6 min 15.5 MB)

Original post, from Michael Verdi:

I went to go visit my Dad today. It’s been 9 days since his open heart surgery. I tried to ask him how he’s doing and he start’s talking about wishbones. That’s my Dad for you. He cracks me up.

(Via Mefeedia)

Another thing you can’t do with podcasts. This video is about the Katrina hurricane (more videos at http://mefeedia.com/tags/hurricane_katrina/). The way you can combine video and music in a videoblog is something unique to video. I know a lot of people prefer podcasts. I like audio too. It’s a great medium. But there are things you can do with video, emotional things, that are different from audio.

Watch movie(Quicktime 4.8 min 35.8 MB)

Original post, from karmagrrrl: tales of a karmically challenged life…:

…because I have to be dreaming …having a nightmare, in which case, please pinch me now – hard. These past few days have been horrific.I heard this song on Chuck Olsen’s blog and thought it was an appropriate fit with what I’ve been feeling. Now on to the doing…Donate to the Red Cross hurricane Katrina relief effort and help out the people from New Orleans.Music: Wake me up when September Ends by Green Day.

(Via Mefeedia)

You gotta love this. Adam has been experimenting for a while doing animation, using computer generated voices. They sound pretty good. The video is almost haunting. Those voices!

Watch movie (Quicktime 1.5 min 2.9 MB)

Original post, from Bullemhead:

“The woodchuck has an encounter with his girlfriend’s sister.”

(Via Mefeedia)

Mefeedia subscriber stats in Feedburner.

Mefeedia subscriber stats are nowreported in Feedburner. It’s all about making this ecology work.

Feedburner is a great service, a lot of videobloggers and podcasters use them to manage their RSS feeds. We’ve added subscriber reporting to Mefeedia so now you can see how many subscribers you have in Mefeedia in your Feedburner stats. The Feedburner people (Jessie) were great, they really helped us out setting this up.

Odeo’s dirty little secret

Odeo is a great service, and they’re improving all the time, but they have a dirty little secret.

They have not solved the findability problem of podcasts. Not even close.

It is very hard to find podcasts you like on Odeo. Peter Merholz noticed this, Donna noticed it too. Information architects!

Findability for audio and video is a HUGE issue. I’d say it’s the number one problem waiting to be solved. It’s just too damn hard to find good videoblogs and podcasts.

Even in Mefeedia, videoblogs are still too hard to find. The problem with video is that it is a black hole for attention. You can’t do much else while watching video (although I’ve found you can actually take your attention away from the screen easily now and then and just listen).

It is very hard to decide whether a video is worth watching, worth spending all that attention on. On Mefeedia, I invest a lot in creating thumbnails, which serve the purpose of making the watch decision easier, of making videos more scannable.

And there are many other tricks coming up in the upcoming release this week. One of them is a BlogThis feature. You can blog a video from within Mefeedia, you can include thumbnails in your post (drag and drop!), it prefills the type (Quicktime), size and length of the movie and links to the original blog and such. The purpose of this is to encourage revlogging.

Revlogging is vlogging (videoblogging) about videos of other videobloggers. Videobloggers don’t link enough to each other, and this is one tool that I hope will increase how much videobloggers talk about each other on their own blogs. All to increase findability – links from blogs to other videoblogs are one of the biggest findability tools out there.

So there you go: findability is the biggest problem for videoblogging right now. Who’da thunk it? A year ago, I thought bandwidth, hosting or creation tools would be our challenges. But now that the amount of videoblogs is exploding, and for the foreseeable future, it’s findability. Which gives me a nice chunky challenge for next year with Mefeedia.

Building Mefeedia

I started talking about videoblogging with Jay in the spring of 2004. We were really excited: regular people could soon start their own television channels! We would have another way of connecting.

The most amazing thing is that this has actually happened, in only a year.

We started a mailing list together, in that spring of 2004, the videoblogging group, which has grown into one of the most active and supportive communities I know. Videobloggers organize conferences, barbeques, you name it. In 2005, we organized 2 conferences, vloggercon and vlogeurope. Podcasters take note. Videobloggers started node101, a nonprof dedicated to teaching videoblogging, and roadnode101, a roadtrip promoting videoblogging.

The amount of teaching that is going on is amazing for such a small community. We’re much, much smaller than the podcasting community, but also much nicer, somehow. The community seems much less commercial. Of course, there is a lot of money in this space, but that’s not what it’s about, and that’s not what most people seem to focus on.

Anyway, the title of this post is building Mefeedia.

I started hacking Mefeedia together as a video aggregator in December 2004, it took me a weekend to put it together. Ruby on Rails? Nope, PHP. I’ll write more tomorrow, got some bugs to squash right now. The main thing I’d like to talk about is how the values you hold influence the features you decide to implement, and the whole design of the site. I was quite surprised by that. More tomorrow. No time. Bugs to squash. We’re coming out with a new version of Mefeedia this week. Hot stuff.

Vlog Anarchy was an important post in videoblog history. Michael Verdi posted about how he felt about videoblogging, and it gave rise to a vlog anarchy tag, with lots of hearthfelt video responses.

Watch movie (Quicktime)

Original post, from MICHAEL VERDI:

Click here to view the video. I’ve been wanting to get this off my chest for a long time. Don’t leave me any text comments – make a video instead and post the link. Also, go to Mefeedia and tag your video “vlog anarchy” and I’ll post the RSS feed.

(Via Mefeedia)