So long web2.0. Nice to know you.

After a long 72hr marathon down at the Moscone Center at the web2.0 expo, I've come to the conclusion that its time for me say goodbye to web2.0. It's been fun kids, but I've got more important projects to work on.


Lifecasting mashup with Justin.TV > Chris Pirillo > Robert Scoble > Jeremiah Owyang

OK. this is a long post. I wrote the first rough draft on the airplane this morning after being up till 3 am, sleeping till 4:30am and then catching a 6am flight down to SFO. Now I'm about to finish it here at the web2expo @ Moscone west (level 2).

Here's the background - I started checking out justin.tv after seeing some early coverage of his project on the usual techno-geek blogs. The whole idea and concept behind what he is trying to do fascinated me and while I have not been watching from the begingging, I have been watching quite intently over the past week or so. Quite an interesting little science project they have going. Clearly capturing a certain buzz and the media seems to be in a frenzy. What the media has no clue about is what I want to focus on in this post.

So as I started watching justin.tv, about a week ago, I began to notice a very strange phenomena taking place in the chat rooms. During pauses, technical glitches, or times when Justin just wasn't all that interesting, the action in the chat rooms picked up considerably. As I started to poke around, I realized that ad-hoc communities and new relationships were forming right in front of my eyeballs were being forged directly in the chat rooms.

For example, Lobby 1 on justin.tv is quite active and there seems to be an entire group of folks who are now "regulars" - myself included - at least since this week (lol). I started to make connections (via IM, txt, twitter, blogs, myspace, etc etc) with several really interesting people in the chat rooms -- which is really what piqued my interest and led me to want to participate more and more, especially during the times when the live feed went down or the feed was just plain boring.

It became clear to me that the chat rooms are where the real action takes place and that's where I found myself being drawn in the most. Being able to chat with people from around the world in real time while also watching the live feed from justin.tv results in some pretty interesting discussions. Sure there's your fair share of immature, inappropriate, and sometimes just downright nasty chatter in the rooms, but the rawness and uncensored nature of both justin's live feed and the raw nature of the chat is what makes it so addictive.

The more I watched, the more I realized that the entire concept of lifecasting is poised to become the next social networking medium. forget myspace, blogs, and the like, a new generation of social networking is upon us - sites like twitter, jaiku, and justin.tv represent the dawn of a new era - the next generation of the web - what some call the semantic web - and others call web3.0. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the term "web3.0", as the whole versioning thing is pretty silly. Let's get web2.0 out of beta and into production before we really start to build the web3.0 platform.

I think what we are seeing happen before our eyes is watching people like you and me take back the internet from the establishment. We saw this on Saturday when Robert Scoble began his very own lifecast of his car trip to Merced. Robert, with the help and "sponsorship" from UStream, setup his Sony Vaio laptop with a Verizon EVDO USB modem, connected to a pretty standard webcam, and hit the road with his family.

Robert started broadcasting and I immediately hopped over to his live stream. Then the craziness ensued. I started chating with Robert while he was driving in his car and talking with his family. Through the IRC chat, Robert began answering questions and interacting with the 20-50 or so folks who were in his chat room and watching his lifecast.

At this point, I realized that the whole game was changing right there in front of my eyes. Then I did something else. I posted a WTF on Technorati and a story on Digg (minimal action on both posts - I don't often post to Digg or Technorati, although I monitor them quite frequently on my orginial signal feed), so I'm not in with the front page posting crowd. I'm a mere mortal. Anyway, that's not the real point here.

Now here's where things go a little Twilight Zone.

Next, I pasted the link to Robert's live feed in the Lobby 1 chat room on Justin.tv.

Then in Robert's chat there is talk about getting Justin in Robert's chat / video stream - which I thought was going to go down at the web2expo and not on a Saturday morning.

Well, we didn't get Justin in Scoble's chat (he was busy with trapeze lessons), but we got some of his crew. Emmett from Justin.tv was in Robert's chat room for a bit and was actually watching Robert lifecast and participating in Robert's chat.

Then things get even weirder. Robert is taking phone calls and somehow word gets out to Chris Pirillo that Robert is broadcasting live from his car. Sure enough a couple minutes later Pirillo shows up in Robert's chat and they start talking.

Then Robert's connection goes down. As a backup, Chris gets Robert on his mobile, turns up the volume of his own live feed, and voila, there you have it - the first human to human lifecasting mashup. Then it got even crazier when Jeremiah Owwang (who is also broadcasting live?) joins both Robert and Chris's live feed. So all of a sudden we have a 3 way live and real time lifecast enviornment with at least 4 lifecasters talking to each other using at least 6 different mediums - chat, IM, IRC, cell phone, video lifecast feed, skype.

By now, things are just getting nutty and I'm muting one feed, listening to another, chatting in yet another - at one point, I had no idea which feed the audio was coming from, which video to watch, and my head was spinning --but the amazing thing is that no matter how the connections were made -- Robert, Chris, Jeremiah, and the folks in the chat rooms were able to seamlessly (well almost) communicate for the entire exchange. At one point I was relaying messages from Chris (speaking verbally in his feed) to Robert (asking robert to call Chris at home).

After at least an hour of this insanity, I had to call it quits. My head was literally spinning and at that point in time, I realized that today the game has changed.

I think the fact that this whole thing is about people and not technology is different. We are on the verge of another wave I think. This wave is where people take back the internet from the establishment. The standards, technologies, and techniques to facilitate human to human interaction in real time on the internet are all in place. The hardware is still evolving, but its clear that sites like Justin.tv and the concept of lifecasting, along with the "wisdom of crowds" concept are fueling this fire.

The dynamics in the Justin.tv chat are fascinating. I would love to see a sociologist or psychologist analyse the logs. There is an entire micro-community of relationships being made right under the justin.tv phenom. Robert just proved that it is possible for others to do similar things. I don't think Robert was trying to show Justin up, as Justin and his team has a very impressive custom hardware solution for his live broadcast.

I think this is one of the more interesting events I've seen take place online in a long long time, which is why I am currently sitting on a plane with literally 2 hours of sleep headed down to san francisco to see how things go down at the web2expo event and also at tonight's Ignite which we should hopefully see Justin attend and speak. I've sent out some feelers to see if I can present at Ignite and tell this story to more people and get their feedback. I will be fickr-twitter-bloggign the entire experience using my Verizon EVDO phone. Here are the relevant URLs:

Follow me [bdeseattle] at the web2expo here: