Growing up we played a game called „as of now”. The premise was that we were on a show and people were watching our every move and we had to fulfill a mundane task, like doing homework, or helping with household chores, or playing doctor, as gracefully (or cool) as possible and keep a running commentary, which had to be as smart-ass funny as we could come up with. We controlled who the audience was. Mostly our classmates, a boy we liked or a very cool grown up – definitely NOT our parents.
This was in the late 70ies and we where budding teens. Not a reality show in sight, no judging and certainly no million dollar prize to fight for. Also no cell phone to record our theatrics, no apps to share what we taped and no internet to connect us to our friends.Fast forward and it sounds about the same, but for the difference, that now it’s all digitally available to share. Kids share their mundane tasks, or silly pranks, recording them on their phone and sharing them via social apps like Vine. These videos aren’t meant to go viral. They’re just a newer form of saying “hi”, “I’m cool”, “what’s up”, “this is what I’m doing right now”. Nothing different from what we did, but for the fact, that it’s made visible, sharable and kept (where?) for all eternity.
So, I had to smile when a recent New York Times article about how video memes are being used today took up that exact topic. They talk about teenage boredom out of which these slice of life videos grow and that the heart and soul of the video-sharing apps is not to go viral, but actually quite the opposite; a private “yo”. And yes, there’s an app called “yo”, that does only that: say “yo” to your receiver.
Taking it a step further with Periscope or Meerkat you don’t need to record, and trim, and send a video – you just live stream from your phone.
Try it out. I just did and some dudes in Europe (it’s night there) saw me logging on and immediately had some uncouth requests. A family on a road trip in the South of this lovely country told me to get lost and some girl in London was getting ready for bed. Sounds about right.
Next steps? The Orwell app, V19.8.4. It will record your every move, whether you like it or not. The cool thing is, it’s for free, you can request to download any length of video clip up to a year retroactively in any location in the solar system, and of any activity as long as you were in it. For other people’s footage there will be a nominal fee; charged in bitcoins.