ooVoo: Where Content & Conversation Lives

I just hung up from a 45 minute video conference with Joseph Jaffe and four other like minded bloggers on ooVoo. It’s part of a promotion Jaffe’s crayon is running over the next several days with a number of well-known marketing and technology bloggers.

Our ooVoo conference in progress

What I found fascinating is how six people who didn’t know each other before the call could have a meaningful conversation about new marketing without a lot of warm up from the host. I’d expect even better results for workgroups and other teams where the participants are known and the conversation focused on the task at hand. Or just to chat with your friends. The video quality was good enough to make this service useful for regular team meetings in lieu of the conference room.

The ooVoo client comes in two flavors, the expected Windows and normally ignored-until-later Mac (although this is still in closed alpha, at the moment). I installed this onto my Macbook running Leopard last week and it seemed to connect to ooVoo fine. When I updated to a new build this morning, it didn’t seem to want to run on Leopard giving me an error message saying ooVoo was, “…not supported on this architecture.” But this is to be expected with alpha code. My install on my underpowered Windows Vista box went as expected and the software worked fine until freezing about 35 minutes into our call. We reconnected fine a few minutes later so this problem might have been an issue with my rather meager system, below ooVoo’s published spec.

Since ooVoo includes the ability to record your call, this creates content that can be re-purposed online in a number of ways. I expect to see a portion of this conversation posted sometime soon as an example of how ooVoo will take advantage of and extend this promotion. I think this technology also has some interesting applications for podcasters who can now do video interviews easily and turn them into video podcasts. I think I might try this with my podcast sometime later in the year.

Jaffe calls ooVoo, “Social Video.” He might be onto something. Check it out for yourself here.

Update: I was able to install the current Mac alpha build and get ooVoo to run in my full admin account. My normal Mac user account does not have admin privileges and ooVoo continues to vex me with permissions issues. I will try to use my Mac on my next ooVoo conference on Wednesday night.

I’m a New Media Entrepreneur

One of the podcasters I really admire is Michael Geoghegan. He encouraged me in late 2004 to start my wine podcast while he was creating Grape Radio. Since then he’s always been responsive to my questions and great to spend time with at events like the Portable Media Expo.

Is Podcasting Dead?Since I didn’t attend PME last year, I was very much looking forward to listening to his speech, particularly since the buzz at the time was that he pronounced podcasting dead.  And while he did use the headstone graphic accompanying this post in his slides, he really doesn’t pronounce podcasting dead in his remarks.

No, his speech is really a call to arms for “podcasters” to choose to turn professional if they expect to make money from what they send down their RSS feeds. He also sets the expectation about really how much one can expect from a podcast using examples from his own experience with Grape Radio. About the only slightly controversial bit Michael addresses is the payment practices of the major podcasting advertising companies; but anyone with an understanding of how mainstream advertising works will not be too surprised here.

I also took away a slightly semantic use of terms where “podcaster” becomes “new media entrepreneur” in order to differentiate podcasts of high quality to potential advertisers. Since I aspire to create quality content in my podcasting, I’m on board with this change in terms.

So to all who have taken umbrage to Michael’s so-called “podcasting is dead” meme, I have four words of advice: listen to the podcast.

Photo by Michael Geoghegan 

Steve Gillmor is the Jean-Luc Godard of podcasting

I finished listening to the epic four volume version of a recent Gillmor podcast (a.k.a. The Gang) while going about some mind numbing chores this past weekend and it finally came to me what Steve is doing: he is reinventing podcasting.

One of the problems with the current state of podcasting as a medium is defining exactly what it is. We’ve already had the debate about whether podcasting is a delivery method or medium but most of the widely subscribed to “podcasts” are actually repackaged radio shows. Or indie radio shows (I’m guilty as charged). Very few podcasts these days are actually challenging the status quo to forge a new way of sharing ideas. Pioneers like Dave Slusher is one of the few trying something different and now I think Steve Gillmor is doing the same thing.

What I found most interesting in the November 16, 2007 show was the opening segment when Steve let some of his panel wait for the show to begin. For longtime Gillmor Gang listeners this is not new but Steve let this go on for the longest time possible. The effect was to strip down the participants to just a couple guys talking about banal subjects like everyone does.

So just like Jean-Luc Godard challenged the conventions of film making, Steve Gillmor is doing the same thing right now with podcasting. It makes the pain of managing 4 or 5 mp3’s per show somewhat less painful; check it out for yourself.

The revolution doesn’t have to be on video…

…but it will because it’s easy.

I watched a video podcast Jason Calacanis and Joseph Jaffe did recently while eating lunch today and thought to myself, “…why are they video recording this podcast; what does the video offer over an audio version of the same content?” Well, nothing, really, and this is why I haven’t done more with video on my podcast than a test simulcast about a year and a half ago. I think that video should be used only when it shows more information for the viewer and not just a voyeuristic eye on the wall as it is with Jason and Joseph’s podcast.

That said, there is something strangely compelling watching Jason pet his bulldog while Joseph drones on about transparency in blogging. Check it out for yourself here.

The social media revolution will be video recorded; get used to it.