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.
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':