Services & Software

Lifecasting: I did not sign up for this

Do bloggers have to become lifecasters?

Robert Scoble, with the tools of his trade: a camera duct-taped to hat and a laptop with Verizon wireless card. (The camera on the tripod must be a prop.) CNET Networks

Several prominent personalities in the Web 2.0 media space have taken more than a passing interest in Justin.TV. Geek bloggers Chris Pirillo and Robert Scoble, as well as Jeremiah Owyang of the Web Strategies blog (and an advisor to Scoble's company, have set up their own livecasts using the streaming service UStream. (To find their shows, search for their names on the site.)

Their streams are not what I would call must-see. The other day I watched Scoble drive from his home in Half Moon Bay to his wife's relative's house in Merced. It was a technical trick that he could broadcast live video from his car, but most of the time he was talking about... broadcasting live video from his car.

In other words, many of these streams are self-referential. Of course, that will change as the Web anoints its jesters -- people whose lives are interesting to tune in to, and who are willing to exhibit their lives to the Web, as Justin Kan is doing.

It's cool that bloggers are experimenting with this medium, but my perspective it this: Being a blogger is a hard enough job. I don't I want to become a lifestreamer. I know for sure that my wife doesn't want me to (nor does Scoble's; during the drive the word "divorce" was mentioned more than once). But is losing all shred of personal privacy going to become requirement for being an online commentator? Already I'm feeling a little weird about the items I'm posting on my Twitter feed.

If there's demand for it, I would look forward to broadcasting live interviews with people in the Web 2.0 community, and I think that's what streaming services, like UStream -- in combination with reliable high-speed, wide-area network bandwidth -- are going to be useful for. (In fact, Owyang is doing just that from the Web 2.0 Expo show floor.) But I don't think it will be too long for lifecasting to jump the shark. I'm waiting for a major TV network to run a reality TV show where the participants wear hat cams. And for a Law and Order episode where a lifestreamer is murdered.