Want a slice of reality cake with your overpriced coffee?

Last week Limerick Open Coffee did a live “TV” stream from their event. People tuned in as the Auctomatic lads talked about the land of Silicon Valley with the roads made from carbonfibre and a VC at every streetcorner giving out lollipops wapped in million dollar notes. Ok, not exactly, but they gave an interesting talk and that made the live TV stream interesting. It was FAR from revolutionary. The revolution was the new communications layer that happened in Ireland. Live TV without a national broadcaster or broadcasting licence and better than RTE as there was interactivity with this live coverage and all that was needed was a net connection, a laptop and a video camera on one end and a browser on the viewer end. 2000 employees and 100s of Millions of investment, not needed. That’s the revolution bit.

James and Bernie quoted my comments about it.

The event was replicated in Dublin today and I really wonder why, though everyone else thinks it was the greatest thing ever, judging by the Twitter love and comment love. It brought nothing to the table at all. The Limerick event showed what could be done and the special guests made it worth watching. Just like blogging, podcasting and all the other new communication layers and platforms, just because it is there does not mean it is suited for everyone. As Conn himself said:

If Ustream.tv has taught me anything, it’s that not everything is worth broadcasting! Robert Scoble figured this out early on, and soon began to keep his live broadcasts for special events. And last Thursday’s OpenCoffee Limerick was undoubtedly special – and certainly worth sharing with others.

I tuned in today, just again to see how well could the livestream and interactivity work but switched off quickly enough. Anyone who tuned into the whole Dublin event must have a lot of time on their hands or an employer who doesn’t mind employees watching something that steals their life for while. I find TV very boring but bloody hell, this is much much worse than that. Maybe Ustream needs two revolutions, one for the infrastructure and the next will be to stream something that will interest more than a clique. James, after attending the Limerick event gives sage advice for future UStreams.

You’re a Star or whatever that drivel is on RTE show shows in the opening rounds stthat not everything should get broadcast. Please god don’t do the same for Open Coffee. The Bebo of live streaming. Apparently Cork Open Coffee tomorrow is going to be streamed too. Hopefully less over-the-top ohMyGoshness over that and hopefully not a regular thing unless there is some kind of special guest every time or a script.

7 Responses to “Want a slice of reality cake with your overpriced coffee?”

  1. I can definitely see where you’re coming from. Watching the side of my head as I drank cold coffee and talked shite can hardly have been riveting. But I can’t see how it did anyone any harm. And on top of that, the stream, and even the OpenCoffee meetups, are all experimental at this stage. It’s only through trying this out can we learn what works and what doesn’t, what’s worth putting on Ustream and what should be kept off air. I think it’s similar to the Twitter-spam debate. What’s Twitter-worthy? Can it ever be wrong to say anything (no matter how useless) on Twitter (or Ustream) if it’s delivered in the opt-in fashion it is?

  2. Will says:

    Watching the live feed is always worse. Editing is always needed to make something long and dull short and interesting.

    Any ideas on if there are plans for and edited highlights?

  3. frankp says:

    meh, streaming stuff like that would put me off going. you can’t talk proper bull if the whole world has access to it… oh no wait, we all put our bull on blogs these days anyway…

  4. Just two points. We know there’s more reach from viewers who appreciate a tightly-edited four-minute clip afterwards than the 14-20 people who like to see the video stream live. Many readers here have an insatiable YouTube appetite and distilling 60 by a factor of 20 is a good exercise.

    Second point. Those who attend Limerick OpenCoffee normally pay for one out of every three mugs of coffee they drink. Knowing that, some people visit even though there are cameras lurking on tables. On our occasional ring-arounds, we haven’t heard anyone saying the event itself is a waste of time. On the contrary, there’s a very strong community spirit that seems to motivate the entrepreneurs who show up and some of them actually come back to the venue on Thursdays when nothing is happening.

  5. Gareth Stack says:

    I think you’re wrong in saying it wasn’t valuable to broadcast this (and by implication future Open Coffee’s) for several reasons.

    1. UStream and other IPTV services, akin to Podcasting, are completely opt in. They do not represent another entrant into the zero sum game of broadcast media, or another confusing addition to the (deliberately) poorly indexed and difficult to navigate ranks of satellite or cable programming. As such, it’s irrelevant whether they interest the public at large. Livestreaming is narrowcasting in this regard. It should not be something that with an potential mass audience – for a start the infrastructure isn’t designed to support one. As long as the live broadcast is valuable to the participants and the audience who do watch it, it was worth doing. Considering yesterdays Dublin Open Coffee garnered about 20 real time viewers with no prior planning or announcement, and the positive experience of the participants, it seems to have been a success.

    2. Despite the informal nature of open coffee mornings, there is an intimidation factor built into an event like this. For those new to the entrepreneurial scene, the prospect of meeting people running their own businesses, or even more so investing in businesses, can be intimidating. Being able to see how the morning actually goes down, actively reduces the fear factor, puts faces to names, and makes participation more likely. Now it could be argued that appearing on camera makes participants skittish, and that’s a valid point, but as its a public forum anyway, participants already need to be careful about what information they give out; and such worries can be handled by breaking the morning into a non-filmed and optional filmed sections, as others have suggested.

    3. It’s not the first of it’s kind, but the use of publically accessible live streaming at an event like this remains innovative, and hence good publicity.

    4. This one should be obvious, but I don’t think anyone has pointed it out yet. Standing in the way of this stuff is whistling in the wind. Unless a given event makes a conscious choice to go ‘media dark’, which certainly happens and has it’s uses, all of this stuff will become increasingly transparent, more and more frequently captured and livestreamed etc; as we all become our own sources of media. This stuff is as inevitable as the march of technology. Humans are addicted to real time social interaction, and anything which facilitates that is likely to be heavily adopted in time.

  6. Damien says:

    There seems to be this odd notion going around that because something is opt-in that people are not free to call a bag of shit a bag of shit. Be it you can’t give out if someone spams people via their Twitter or be it you can’t dislike a UStream that someone else has put out.

    Just because something is free or opti-in does not allow anyone to get all elitist. This is MY web too and I can wander around it and comment on whatever I want to comment on. If you don’t like that, go private and start your own mutual marveling society.

  7. […] Update: Analysis from James Corbett and Damien Mulley. Posted on 16 August, 2007 at 2:12 pm and tagged with opencoffee, ustream.tv, opencoffee club, dublin, ireland, web. […]