Another in a 2014 guest column series which builds on the one in 2009 where 50+ had written about how science/tech has evolved their hobby/interest.
This time it is Robert Lavigne, who goes as Your Social Business Mentor and provides media services through his firm The Digital Grapevine. I first met Robert in Toronto on my book tour for The New Polymath and have always been impressed with his continued experimentation in different forms of expression
I am of a generation that grew up watching Saturday Morning Cartoons, Daytime Soap Operas, Six O'Clock News, Prime Time Sitcoms, and Late Night Live Entertainment. The concept of broadcast television was ingrained in our psyche at a very early age. Our “boob tube” entertainment consisted of only three channels, and a remote control that involved getting up from the couch and manually turning the dial.
How much has changed since that era. We now live in a world where the average television consumer has hundreds of channels, weekend long Netflix marathons, live streaming over the Internet, and of course the vast amount of torrent-based media available for download at the click of a hyperlink.
We live in a world where “Content is King” (Context is Where the Real Value is but I digress) and the fundamental reality of the “Attention Economy” is putting a wedge into the concept of scheduled broadcasting. The simple truth is that we could stop creating content today, and we would have all the media we would need to sustain our edutainment needs until our dying breath. Having said all this, we are living in a world where the operational and infrastructural requirements to broadcast media to a worldwide audience are nearly zero.
Imagine ten years ago, you would approach the IT department with the following request. “We are in need of an infrastructure that can provide us with text messaging, event calendaring, document sharing, information searching, application hosting, news aggregation, geographic localization, AND can also provide us with real time collaboration over live to air video conferencing with archival capabilities.” How much would that Request for Proposal/Information/Quotation/Qualifications/Tender translate to? A Million Dollars? A Billion Dollars? A Trillion Dollars? Simply put, your IT budget would negate any chance of your organization being able to convert that investment into a return for a considerable timeframe. That was the reality of the Broadcasting Corporations (CBC, ABC, NBC, etc) that ruled the airwaves. They owned the infrastructure they built, and as such needed to gain a Return On their Investment of satellites, cameras, talent, administration, and broadcasting facilities.
With the advent of Google, all your Millions, Billions, and Trillions can now be redirected towards actually creating worthwhile content instead of worthless stock options on the next hot start-up destined to fail (circa 2000). Not only has the cost to implement this desired technology shifted to a freemium-based model, but the returns on said infrastructure are now shareable between those who own the platforms and those who provide the content for said platforms. Recently, YouTube (aka Google) announced the repurposing of Howard Hughes’ legendary 41,000-square foot Spruce Goose hangar to become a $25 million dollar a year studio for emerging videographers and online content producers. The availability of such studio space for non-Broadcasting Corporations clients sends a clear signal that the norm is no longer our reality.
So what does all of the above mean to my Technology and my Passion? I currently live in a hard pressed city called Brantford, Ontario. Some may know it as the birthplace of the Great One, Wayne Gretzky (look up Hockey for those who are not Canadian). For me however, I know it as the Telephone City. Brantford (Canada) is where Alexander Graham Bell (an American) successfully made the first long distance phone call to Paris. Now in reading this, you may be thinking…WOW…Paris, France. Nope, the first ever long distance phone call was from Brantford, Ontario to Paris, Ontario (a mere 10 minute drive by horseless carriage).
From my modern basement in Brantford, I have hosted multiple Live to Air Hangouts (The 42+1 Interview Series all over the globe. To make my evolutionary point, I have performed multiple live to air video interviews with people in Paris, France. Old Alex would have a stroke at the very idea that I was able to perform such a feat at such a great distance for such a low price (cost of my laptop and wifi). Those interviews in many ways are the basis for my passion. I love to learn and I am willing to stretch the globe for this knowledge.
Google has provided me the means to perform such fantastic feats via a web browser, while many in the world are still struggling to get consistent electricity. Both Google and YouTube have complimentary Live to Air capabilities (YouTube refers to them as Live Events and Google refers to them as Hangouts on Air). The cost to leverage this technology is the equivalent of the cost of meeting a person over coffee. In both cases, multiple camera sources are possible via their streaming capabilities.
Some people may be confused by this, so let me explain, a social profile on a hangout is a camera feed. You can easily have multiple social profiles mimic a camera angle (or in the case of Live Events which can actually have multiple cameras per profile). It is simply breathtaking that as a child, I would be watching shows like Saturday Night Live and be amazed that comedians in New York could perform their multi-camera skits for the world to see in real time. It is a lesser known fact that Phil Hartman (of SNL and Simpson fame) spent a portion of his childhood in Brantford, Ontario.
So as a testament to Phil, I decided to take my passion for Live to Air Broadcasting and share it with those in Brantford who struggle to have a voice in a post-industrial complex. In 2014, I launched a side-project called Poptics TV . With a standard office space, some backdrops, a couple of web cameras, and some imagination, I am opening up my own Google/YouTube Studio right here in Brantford. I have opened the door to those in my community to become Poptics Players and broadcast their message to the world in real time. In essence, Poptics TV is a three stage video production of a bunch of people like you and I wanting to improve their online video content and public speaking skills. We record our segments to DSLR, but have the Web Cameras running Live to Air while we record (think Behind the Scenes). The Lower Quality Live to Air footage is available in real time. A Higher Quality version of the Live to Air gets released later in the week. The Awesome Quality of the studio shoot gets released later in the month. The goal of Poptics TV is to not only improve the presentation quality of the Poptic Players, but to improve the broadcast quality of the Live to Air over the course of multiple attempts (read months) and various technologies (e.g. Wirecast for YouTube). Content is hosted on the Poptics TV YouTube Channel via Playlists and on the Poptics TV Google+ Page.
Fan favourites include Ron's Unwritten Book Reviews and Richard's Musical Moment. Current and upcoming segments include Ray’s Financial Investment Advice, Shannon’s Intern of Light, and Bill's Guitar Skills. Additional Live to Air Interview Segments with Book Authors, Industry Experts, and Interesting People will fall under my Getting to Know segment (originally started as a podcast series/ Not only will this Live to Air technology fuel my passion, but it will provide an avenue for others in my community to leverage it to find their passion. Stay tuned for Season One of Poptics TV (All for Nothing…and Nothing for All).