- Monday, June 15th, 2009
The main appeal of Twitter is that many people use it for a variety of different things. But one area I don’t quite get is why you would ‘tweet’ a video on a platform off Twitter that requires you to spend time not only uploading but converting it as well? At least to me, the appeal of Twitter has always been short, quick text based information and the availability of real-time search (of that info).
In this recent mad dash to have a Twitter video platform, companies like 12 Seconds, Twitvid.io, and even YouTube, are trying to create a service similar to TwitPic where you can upload your videos for your Twitter followers to view. Once uploaded, your followers would be notified that the video is ready for viewing. But that’s the problem – Twitter’s success is based on real-time information and conversation. So the same should hold true for Video in order for it to provide the same impact of a real-time conversation and flow. Does a few minutes really matter if someone’s not watching video in real-time. Well yes. Think of watching a sporting event as it happens or being told 10 minutes later what happened during the sporting event. What has a greater impact?
Then you have practical internet and consumer bandwidth limitations to deal with. Video is a much larger sized upload than a picture. So even with YouTube’s recent announcement that they’re joining ‘the stream’, they’re still not offering information in a real-time capacity for users. They’re only sending out a ‘tweet’ about your video after it’s been uploaded AND converted in their system. And if you’ve done this before you know it’s not an immediate process.
Though we’re still in the infancy of the real-time web and information ‘stream’, everything is evolving at a breakneck pace. You can see some of this evolution by tracking some of the live streaming sites or people that are already ‘lifecasting’. For example, Qik and Ustream already have Twitter integrated into their platforms so that the second you start broadcasting live, real-time video, a tweet goes out to your followers with a link so they can watch your broadcast in real-time. Not only is your audience notified in real-time and can join your broadcast as it happens, but they can also interact with you while your broadcasting. (We recently used Qik on the iPhone to experiment with live interactive mobile broadcasts at E3 and blogged about it here.) Contrast this with YouTube’s method of tweeting out an uploaded video and it almost makes the online video market leader look even more behind the times than they already are.
Further emphasizing how important video will be to the web is a recent forecast from Cisco that by 2013, 90% of all internet traffic will be video. With recent announcements of video on the iPhone 3G S and Qik’s addition to Nokia’s handsets, mobile real-time video is also going to contribute to the real-time and ‘in the moment’ nature of how video is both viewed and shared. Shooting your video, uploading, waiting for it to convert and then finally letting someone view it is not going to be optimal for this real-time revolution.
The question isn’t whether the real-time revolution will continue to evolve (like it has) to feed people’s increasingly insatiable need for instantaneous information. Rather the question will revolve around who, from the current stable of real-time streaming video communities, is poised run the next leg of the real-time race. Currently, Qik and Ustream are neck in neck in that race with no indication that either is about to let up.