The strange thing about all this screenwatching, which now is pretty much the central event in all of our lives, is that it is a uniquely new event to the human experience. We may have 10,000 years of experience making fires or telling stories or chopping down trees or working; and probably closer to a million years of experiend having inter-personal relationships of fighting wars. We have about 100 years of experience in screenwatching, starting with movies.
Thus, the bulk of our prior screenwatching experience was derived from what I would call 'the passive observer'. You went to a movie theater, you sat in the dark and you watched what somone else had made for you - generally at great expense.
With the advent of TV, that model was shifted from theaters to living rooms and bedrooms. Not much difference, save for the smaller screen (and fewer people in the room, unless you went to the cinema to see Waterworld).
It is natural, therefore, that we have now migrated that sense of 'watch this!' to phones.
But phones are different, and they represent a kind of technological conflict, because we are also used to using phones to talk to other people; in other words, to participate and contribute. That is something we never did in a movie theater (or most of us never did). In fact, movies start with the pre-roller that says 'silent. Turn your phone off'. Ironic that).
Now we are, for the first time, marrying the 'phone' experience with the 'watching' experience.
My guess is that the 'phone' experience will triumph.
That is, that given the opportunity, people will want to 'particiapte' in the viewing experience as opposed to just watching it.
The runaway success of Facebook, YouTube and Instagram seems to bear this out. They are all 'we all make it, we all watch it' experiences.
What does this mean for video?
Well, it means that instead of depending on CNN or NBC or The BBC with their perhaps 1,000 cameras around the world, we now have an opportunity to put into play 6 billion cameras, all the time, from everywhere.
Is this challenging?
You bet it is.
But probably no more challenging than, say, building the Pyramids. It's amazing what a group can do when they are properly organized.
©2012 Michael Rosenblum