Journalists tooling-up for the instant web

Has Video Killed the Blogging Star? This was the question posed by the 4 o’clock session at this week’s Social Media Influence conference in London.

At the Edinburgh TV Festival in 2007 video blogging was touted as “THE way we’ll communicate in the future”. The technology today is simpler, cheaper and now mobile journalism is the latest twist reporting has taken as web technology’s promise of making us “always connected” is finally fulfilled.

People are naturally attracted to video. Reading is so much effort after all. Video doesn’t require a lot of thought or effort and even short clips contain all the info you would want. It’s still in its infancy but its growing uptake is not surprising considering photo and text blogging is so easy to do. It’s phone to online in a matter of seconds, with a host of companies (such as Moblog, Qik and Seesmic) offering services to consumers in this space.

Ask a person, uninitiated in the ways of video blogging about it and you’ll get confused faces and a whole load of questions - Isn’t that expensive? It’s complicated? We don’t have the bandwidth to sustain it.

When picture messaging on mobile first came out, it was expensive and took ages to send. In the days before Bluetooth was seamless, even when you did get a picture, there was no hassle-free way of transferring and storing it on a computer – it was all about USB cables and fiddling with settings – a big no-no for most people.

When you pit the two against each other; that is uploading video from a camera phone against the old methods of big budget broadcast journalism, there’s no contest. Mark Jones of Reuters explained that for journalists video blogging technology is fast and easy to use. It can be sent back instantly from the field or uploaded right there to a news site online.

It’s useful for junior reporters too. While interviewing with mobile technology senior staff can relay questions from the office if required.

Qik - a site that lets you stream live video from your phone to online - is making the process all that easier. You simply type your phone number on the homepage and they send you a link and then you’re good to go. The sites success is from short, relatively simple clips that are highly addictive, Mireia Fontbernat from Qik explained. Their most popular clip was from a man who had fixed his phone to his bike while he cycled home from work, reciting Keats. The site also offers streaming of video straight from mobile to Twitter. Video tweets – amazing!

Definitely useful in certain circumstances the technology needs to come down in price before it can truly take over from text blogging to be THE new way we communicate online, which will no doubt happen - as it always does. It’s just a case, in 2009, of finding out when that tipping point will be.


Top ten brands on YouTube

Everyone hates banks right? Or is that just me?

365 friends: it's the year of the geek

BBC News interactive moves centre stage

Digital skills shortage is pure economics

Risk management and social media