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The cultural barriers to capturing content

Today I attended the GigaOm Bunker Session titled "Is App TV Coming Next?"

If you know me, you know that I believe strongly in capturing content.   I believe that within 20 years, humanity will be capturing most, if not all, of its content.  To me, it's a shame that we produce content which then gets lost, only to be stored inside the heads of the people who where physically present.  If we're ever to make a leap in learning past what each individual can experience, we need to have a collective framework where people can learn quickly by sharing in experiences others have had.  In short, I believe it should be a basic human right to capture the content you've experienced, and share it with whomever you want.

To many people, that can be a very scary idea.  What if someone is having a private conversation with you, and you capture and share it with the world?  And although these are very real issues, to me, they are issues that can be solved.  The benefit so far exceeds the cost of figuring these issues out that it's a no-brainer (see our experiences with Stargate as an example).  In fact, there are opportunities for creative entrepreneurs to find ways of easing the world into the idea of capturing and sharing content in ways that people are culturally comfortable with and that maintain people's sense of privacy.

Today I had a typical experience that highlights how far we have to go before the capturing of content is accepted.  I was attending GigaOm's session on AppTV, and setting my Kodak Zi8 camera up, as I often do, to capture the session.  That's when Surj Patel of GigaOm came up and told me I couldn't record the session.  When I asked him why, he told me to "fuck off".  Pretty distressing attitude.

Today I attended the GigaOm Bunker Session titled "Is App TV Coming Next?" If you know me, you know that I believe strongly in capturing content.   I believe that within 20 years, humanity will be capturing most, if not all, of its content.  To me, it's a shame that we produce content which then gets lost, only to be stored inside the heads of the people who where physically present.  If we're ever to make a leap in learning past what each individual can experience, we need to have a collective framework where people can learn quickly by sharing in experiences others have had.  In short, I believe it should be a basic human right to capture the content you've experienced, and share it with whomever you want. To many people, that can be a very scary idea.  What if someone is having a private conversation with you, and you capture and share it with the world?  And although these are very real issues, to me, they are issues that can be solved.  The benefit so far exceeds the cost of figuring these issues out that it's a no-brainer (see our experiences with Stargate as an example).  In fact, there are opportunities for creative entrepreneurs to find ways of easing the world into the idea of capturing and sharing content in ways that people are culturally comfortable with and that maintain people's sense of privacy. Today I had a typical experience that highlights how far we have to go before the capturing of content is accepted.  I was attending GigaOm's session on AppTV, and setting my Kodak Zi8 camera up, as I often do, to capture the session.  That's when Surj Patel of GigaOm came up and told me I couldn't record the session.  When I asked him why, he told me to "fuck off".  Pretty distressing attitude. In fairness, he did come up to me to apologize later, but his attitude highlights how far we have to go before capturing content is culturally OK.  I do understand that it's GigaOm's business model to put content behind a pay wall, and that's fine.  I would argue that allowing audience members to capture some content would increase the subscriber base.  It exposes more people to the brand, and a professional, edited recording will always be better and more engaging than a blogger with his flip-style camera. I was disappointed by Surj's myopic view of the value of capturing content, and his aggressive response when I asked him why that was his policy.  And I post this blog not to embarrass him, but because I believe in the importance of allowing people to capturing content.  I'm sure some of you will disagree with me, and I welcome your comments below. As an aside, I've had similar things happen before, where groups were surprised I wanted to capture content (never so aggressively, though), and those groups have literally thanked me later and said "you were right, it provided a lot of value to us that you captured the content" after they saw the increase in interest in their brand from the video. Here's the video of Surj telling me to 'fuck off':

The Best Subjects: People

On Imported Blog

Being a black traveler means that most times, people are staring at you. Some people might hate that, and on occasion, so do I. However, there are times where it has allowed me to capture some amazing photographs. My name is Afiya and I’m a professional people watcher.

Every time I return home from a trip, the first thing I do after taking a hot shower is upload the photos from my camera to my laptop. I usually return with over 1,000 pictures and at least two hours of video but I started noticing an interesting trend: the subject of most of my pictures were people. Whenever I’m planning my itinerary, I always aim to discover all aspects of what makes the country I’m visiting unique; food, eco-tourism, architecture, fashion etc. But I always add a park or a nice street cafe to the list so that I can take time out to de-stress from the hustle and bustle and of course people watch.

People watching isn’t about being nosey. It’s simply allowing yourself to be engulfed in the energy of the people and capturing it if you can. It is observing the group of Buddhist monks in Thailand chatting as they cross the street, or watching a young Thai boy sit between his parents on a motorbike whizzing through traffic. It can even be watching a group of mature Indian women sit and chat with each other or a young Japanese couple indulge in each other in a photo booth in Tokyo. But the most interesting thing to notice is how they notice you. I sometimes snap without even looking at my camera or in the direction it’s facing. Since I’m working with a point and shoot camera, I’m very unassuming. It’s always interesting to see the pictures that I’ve taken because I’m always surprised to notice that most times my subject is looking at me. Smiles, expressions of confusion, curiosity and disgust, are usually the expressions that I see in the photos that I’ve taken.

People are beautiful creatures. We express ourselves freely without even knowing. Our body language and facial expressions can express a plethora of emotions. Our culture shines through us in how we greet others, celebrate, mourn and go about our daily activities. On your next trip, take some time to sit down and people watch. Take in the noise, the emotion, and facial expressions. You’ll be amazed at how much you can learn about a location by means of its people in just a few minutes.

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