Why Desktop Video Aggregators Don’t Work

It is too hard to share.

When video is consumed in a web browser, the URL is always there, always available and easy to email.

After all, although we watch might watch these videos in isolation, we consume them in groups. It is a social activity.

7 thoughts on “Why Desktop Video Aggregators Don’t Work”

  1. Some might ask why desktop aggregators work for audio: because they are long form, because we listen on other devices, because we don’t share audio in the same manner, because we started with Napster..

    I do think that when people watch media on a dedicated device, perhaps one hooked up to a TV (like an iTV, TiVo or MyTH) this will change.

  2. Great minds and all that shit…

    Check it:

    “I had dropped the idea of a desktop app (or a flash based-client) since the only purpose I could see of producing a desktop video viewer would be if you had an offline device (a teevee? a viPod?) to cache to. iPodder exists because you can’t get the data to the device easily without it. As it stands now, ain’t much of anyone hooking their laptops up to their televisions to view web video, and the bulk of the folks watching this stuff are doing it on broadband connections, anyway. The video is available on demand.”

    http://www.kenyattacheese.net/braintag/2004/12/06/vipodder_vogbrowser_videobrowser_ideas_with_a_life_of_their_own.php

  3. Man, wish I had time to read blogs… I miss all the stimulating conversation.

    I realized a long time ago it wasn’t just that video was disconnected… because both fireant and democracy have permalinks back to the original blog post and just having that takes care of 99% of the sharing and commenting and socializing problems.

    The problem is in how you consume video.

    I have over 400 video subscriptions on mefeedia.com. What can I say it’s made to handle a massive freaking about of subscriptions. I find it’s when you really abuse the hell out of things is when you learn what works and what doesn’t. Believe it or not 400 video feeds is nothing. Most vloggers only post about a video or two a week. All things said I only get about 50 videos a day.

    It still might seem like a lot… but as I scan through and read the posts in my inbox I command click on them in firefox opening them in a new tab where they automatically start downloading. I ussually only find ten posts I feel the need to watch the videos for. The rest of what’s going on I get the gist of from the text of the post… just because Steve and Carol Garfield are in Phoenix on vacation doesn’t mean I don’t want to see it… and just becuase I don’t watch the video doesn’t mean I haven’t absorbed some valueable information… ie. that steve and carol are on vacation in phoenix. It’s a win win situation. Meanwhile by the time I’m done scanning and reading all the posts and move to the next tab the first video is ussually loaded…. I then watch the video… perhaps tag it, favorite it… or after I’m done I may visit the original site and leave a comment.

    The key is in understanding the workflow.

    iTunes is absofreakinglutely USELESS for video… they don’t understand how important the text of the post is… and worse yet they have absolutely no permalink back to the original vlog post. They completely misunderstand the nature of videoblogging. They think it to be “shows”.

    Meanwhile while I love democracy and fireant they two both misunderstand the important nature of the text. I DO NOT want auto-aggregation… with it I’d have 50 or so videos a day and probably 75% of them I won’t watch… it’s a huge waste of bandwidth.

    Instead these software tools need to embrace the workflow… of scan… read… and queue for downloading and watching. It infinitely more effective.

    Of course for newbies and lighter weight vloggers with only a few subscriptions I think Fireant and democracy work great with this auto-aggregation methodology.

    Now… here are the big guns… this is how I work.

    First…. I use mefeedia to subscribe to all my vlogs… second as I scan the directory if there’s something I want to watch and it’s short I ussually command click and it starts loading in a background tab. However… often there’s longer things… conferences, speaches and the occasional audio podcast. For these I simply add them to a mefeedia playlist called “stuff to watch”… the feed for that playlist is plugged into Democracy on my Ubuntu media server… which automatically downloads any new content from that playlist. I can then listen to audio podcasts on my stereo… or sync them to my iPod where I ussually listen to them on bike rides… there’s nothing like riding down country lanes listening to some people wax poetic about real-time telepresence and twitter…. Oh, and ussually I just watch the long videos I’ve aggregated on democracy on the TV hooked up to my media server.

    The point is this if you’re still with me. Wether it be subscribing to a blog, a video feed, an audio podcast or twitter… you’re not ALWAYS going to want to read/watch/listen to EVERYTHING in that trusted subscription mechanism. What ALL video aggregation software lacks is the ability to pre-scan and pre-read the posts before downloading them to watch.

    Mefeedia creates that space. And it’s completely compatible with all video aggregaotrs.

    I like to think of it as the one two punch… mefeedia is for skimming, surfing, prefiltering and light watching… then the video aggregation software is for handling the longform content… the heavy downloads and heavy listening.

    The cool thing is… as long as you avoid itunes like the freaking plague that it is… you always maintain that vital permalink back to the original website where you can comment… or do any one of a nearly infinite host of important SOCIAL things.

    In summary…

    1) the lack of linkback is only a problem with itunes

    2) the real problem is clogging up your hard drive with way to much crap you’re never going to watch and now feel you have an obligation to because you’ve downloaded it.

    3) Pre-Scanning before caching or downloading to watch is the key.

    One of these days the three of us are going to sit down over a beer one night a week for month… and get to discuss all these brilliant things… I can tell we think alike… but we’re barely just scratching the surface with these compeltely random chance encounters.

    P.S. Go to co.mments.com, signup… put their bookmarklet in your browser. Next time you leave a comment track it by clicking on their bookmarklet. Make sure to set your preferences in co.mments.com to automatically email you any responses.

    If you don’t do this either don’t know and don’t trust me very well, which is understandable… or surely you must have SOME other way your tracking conversations and comments you have on other people’s blogs!? If co.mments.com isn’t the most brilliant thing you’ve ever seen…. Please let me know. Because searched for it for 2 years… and have been using it for over a year… and my love affair with it has never dminished.

    Not that you’ll find anything interesting in the blog posts I’m commenting on and the comments I’m leaving… but you can check it out here. http://co.mments.com/people/mmeiser If you signup let me know.

    Peace,

    -Mike of mmeiser.com/blog and mefeedia.com

  4. Hey Mike,

    Good to hear from you.

    I am not sold on internet based aggregators either. I definitely appreciate the setup you have but most folks are not connoisseurs of internet video and won’t go through the trouble. What they will do is look to folks like you to recommend, share and link to them.

    I also don’t think that most people care the source of the media as long as it is playable in an easy way via a link in an email or on a page. In any case, I see Mefeedia and Vlogbot as the place for power users.

    I just signed up for co.mments.com: http://co.mments.com/people/vanevery

    -shawn

  5. The irony is that the most important thing aggregation isn’t about downloading or precaching at all. It’s all about being able to track and turn the data upside-down and inside out.

    To be able to creat “smart” playlists… remix data… search… track conversations (like co.comments), and just bubble it up and share data.

    This is the success of bloglines and google reader is this. I actually much prefer web based aggregators or would… if they didn’t all suck. Why gmail has labels… the equivelent of tabs and google reader has hierarchical folders so something can’t be both two things at once I don’t know. Also important are “smart” playlists… being able to group things into subject matter or memes.

    The bottom line is the clossest we’ve come is digg.com or delicious to what I call a friend based network. Making a friend based media network is something we’re working on with mefeedia. yeah, we have a long way to go yet.

    -Mike

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