Week 1: Response to Living on a Stream

FYI, my self portrait site is here.

The Living on a Stream article is interesting, it makes you consider how far living streaming has come, and encouraged me to get my thinking cap on and thinking about what is going to become important and successful and good when the future of streaming is realized (i.e. his reference to the need for an accurate search tool).

Though the gist of the article was important, and I don’t on principle disagree, part of it feels unsubstantiated. I looked up the writer, Steven Levy, and he’s a published tech author whose name should be trusted (maybe I should even know who he is). However, on the whole the article didn’t feel very scholarly or well researched, and he was backing up his arguments with…well, nothing. He made off hand comments like how it seems like YouTube may be going towards more live streaming than archival video, without anything to back that up. He mentioned Google may be looking for a way to search for live streams, but has no real idea. And through these constant points he raises without anything more than a gut-feeling, it sort of loses legitimacy.

There are a couple of specific points that I would question as to why he argues that live streaming will take over, as well as the DIY approach. He mentions that viewers may lose patience with major productions because they look too refined compared to the rugged home video look of random live streams. Though I don’t dispute that in our all-consuming media generation, we have lessened the need for top-quality production, if we were to follow the trends of other media – photography, audio; if anything it goes the other way, that an overly saturated playing field makes polish crucial. I don’t see viewers losing patience with quality in the near future.

The biggest area of skepticism I have about live streaming is that, again in our consumable media culture, we’ve grown short attention spans and crave content that satisfies that. Vine, Instagram, mobile gaming all aim to entertain in a short amount of time. The real issue of live streaming everything is the amount of utterly boring content to have the few really good moments. I would need more research before making a long bet myself, but I would almost be willing to bet the other way. The more people get access to live streaming, the more mind-numbing content gets released, and the more people will look away from that form of media. I’m not saying it won’t have it’s place, or start to be more important (everything that has viewership should be live streaming), but I just don’t yet buy theĀ idea that in 20 years that most watched entertainment will be some peopleĀ living their lives on uStream.

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