Jim Long - Digital Media and Culture

Video on the Net – Media Workers and Media Moguls Making the “Digital” Transition

Bringing together the brightest minds of new television

I just booked my travel to the fall Video on the Net Confernence in Boston. I’m very excited because the spring conference in San Jose was a great opportunity for me to connect with key players in this emerging ecosystem. Once again, looks like the best and brightest will be attending this one too. For those of you who missed it, here’s a look a back at VON ’07, San Jose.


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So how far have we come since the spring conference? Well, the emergence of simple, live video capability has been a real game-changer. The ambitious live dramatic series “35”, Chris Pirillo’s pioneering streaming efforts, and live shows like Jonny Goldstein’s Par-TAY, all point to live video as a powerful tool in social media. As Robert Scoble Twittered recently

It was fun meeting my neighbors last night and explaining “I have a TV station in my pocket.” That got wonderful stares. :-)
Robert Scoble – Twitter/@scobleizer

Meanwhile, CBS Interactive’s purchase of online show Wallstrip has validated internet video as a vital component of a web content business model. That deal has received a lot of attention, as more and more content creators look to ink agreements with big media companies. So it’s no surprise that once again, VON will be well attended by reps from companies like NBC Universal (my current employer), AOL, Washington Post Newsweek Interactive, Turner Broadcasting, Spark Capital, Akami.. and the list goes on. Video on the Net will be another huge opportunity for me, and for anyone in this space, to network with key industry leaders and get a better idea of what’s on the horizon.

“Digital” media initiatives vs. listening, conversation, and the social web

I often hear about this media comany’s “digital media initiative”, or that this person is in charge of “digital efforts”. If you’re just thinking digital, I think you’re missing the point. I recently attended a seminar at my alma mater American University entitled: PHOTOJOURNALISM: Surviving the Digital Challenge. Overall, there was great discussion, but I heard no mention of engaging audiences in conversation and using video as the starting point. Hosted by the White House News Photographer’s Association and AU’s School of Communication, it was a useful and informative discourse on the imperative for photojournalists to think of themselves more as content creators and less as media workers, and an examination of the internet as a key distribution channel.

Video journalism messiah and media raconteur Michael Rosenblum keynoted, and with no hyperbole, described shifts in media today as world-changing as Gutenburg’s printing press. He and I may not agree on everything, but on this, he’s dead right.
Michael Rosenblum “weighs” the merits of specializaton

While talented, smart media makers can hope to define themselves as bridge-builders between old and new media – integral to a media company charting a course into new territory – I’m personally not banking on it. I’m smack in the middle of this sea change in media, as the diminishing value proposition of a career as network news cameraman thrusts me into the empowering, enriching world of social media. While the “digital challenge” is an important discussion, nothing was really mentioned about video as conversation agent on the Social Web. The “social” part of this is often more of a challenge for traditional media companies. Social requires what VON organizer Chris Brogan deftly outlines as listening.

I think video can and should be an important part of a media company’s SOCIAL web efforts. That’s precisely why I’m attending Video on the Net, to build my personal brand, measure my media strategies with , connect with key industry leaders, and re-connect with the rock stars of internet video.

  • http://stevegarfield.com Steve garfield

    Looking forward to seeing you again!!!

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan…

    I can’t wait to see you again. I have some thoughts we’ll have to discuss really early on. Thanks for coming!

  • http://jonnygoldstein.com Jonny Goldstein

    I’ll be at PodCamp Boston, can’t stay for VON which bums me out. Thanks for the shoutout!

    Are you gonna be at PodCamp?

  • http://LenEdgerly.com Len Edgerly

    Your emphasis on the conversation in video is right on, Jim. I look forward to seeing you at VON!

  • rosenblum

    Looking forward to seeing you in Boston. Don’t forget to bring the anvil!

  • http://www.synchronis.tv kathryn

    so looking forward to meeting you LIVE and IN PERSON!!!! See you at VON!!!!!

  • http://www.cookingupastory.com Rebecca

    Hey Jim:
    I’m totally with you in the possibilities in starting a conversation using video. I’ve been posting on my channel at YouTube various short stories and several have started some interesting conversations. Coming from the same background as you, I think we’ve been trained to record the ‘news’ and peoples stories. As you know, the stories I’m doing now are in the voice of the subject (no reporter, no written voiceover), and often times they say things that would be left on the cutting room floor because it might not fit what the news producer has in mind for his/her lineup. That, in combination with an audience that is becoming comfortable making comments and sharing their experiences too, can make for an interesting conversation. I think the possibilities are there, provided you have a (willing) audience.

  • http://jonnygoldstein.com Jonny Goldstein

    Every organization is a media organization—whether their media are just newsletters on paper, or a full blown electronic media barrage. How are all organizations going to understand they need to listen? Fun and challenging watching this unfold. Have a blast at Von. Sorry I couldn’t stick around for it. I guess we’ll just have to hang out here in DC where we actually live.

  • http://bentrem.sycks.net Ben Tremblay

    I just have to point you to my (former) friend’s FaceBook profile … isn’t that a doppleganger picture?!

    p.s. early 80s I was all tooled up to do photoJ … low 5 figures in the bank, NikormatFT w/3 lenses ++, Mamiya C330 w/2 lenses ++ … got a chance to be spokesperson for national anti-cruise missile action, putting together a “Peace Camp” outside the base. (Remember Greenham Commons?) I wudda headed to Nicaragua.
    Life’s like that sometimes.

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