Friday, July 08, 2005

Moblogs - Max Headroom Lives!!

The terrorist attacks in London - by phonecam

As soon as the dust was settling on the victims of the terrorist attacks in London this week, the phonecams came out, and news may never be the same.

As security kept most news organizations far from the heart of the disaster, citizens with phonecams and moblogs began uploading "minute to minute live coverage" all over the internet.

Phonecams...cellphones with integrated digital cameras, have grown more popular, and gained in quality since their introduction. Today's average phonecam has a 1 megapixel camera...good enough for very crisp web...and news...images.

Moblogs...Mobile Blogs, are a system whereby phone cam images are uploaded to the user's blog, and they can add text to the blog from the phone as well. Most moblogs are publically accessible, and the news organizations began to feed off the moblog images, since their own cameramen were kept at safe...but un-newsworthy...distance.

Are we seeing the cusp of a new paradigm in news reporting? Is the model from "Max Headroom", the prophetic sit-com(?) from the 80s, the future of news?

Today, some blogs are very popular...Slashdot, Groklaw, BoingBoing, Engadget, and the current crop of UFO-related blogs among them. If moblogs follow suit, we could have individuals who capture newsworthy snaps consistently...a precursor to "Network 23s Edison Carter"???

Will the streets soon be filled with wanna-be Pulitzer recipients looking for that "perfect storm" of timing, misfortune, and serendipity?

Methinks so.

It is remarkable that we are seeing these sea changes in the way we communicate, and it just seems so...natural. The ubiquity of blogs has come virtually overnight, and I feel certain that the same is true of moblogs, particularly after this example.

I loved the Max Headroom paradigm of the "embedded journalist"...but 24/7 in the streets...capturing the news by being IN the news. That Edison was always battling his superiors, and fighting off the corporate assault by ZikZak Corp., was probably prophetic as well. I don't think most mobloggers will take too kindly to being over-directed, either.

Max, you were ahead of your time...but we seem to be catching up...and fast!


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