Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Two Ends of the Spectrum

I'm very supportive of our fans, and try to go out of the way to help them. However, when you get helpdesk emails like this:

Request Description:I am presently using Windows Vista
Business. When I try to acquire the audio feed, I keep having a problem
with my internet explorer crashing and closing. I am using 230kbps dial
up with my Alltel mobile phone. Could you please assist me with this
issue: I am presently missing the OU/AR game... !!!

Well, it's certainly ambitious to try to take any level of streaming content, even audio, by tethering to a cell phone. Not saying you can't do it -- I've tethered many a day to update the website or surf content. Let's just say 230K might be hitting the phone (maybe) at one point, but I'd highly doubt you're going to maintain that with the type of consistency needed.

I'll applaud the desire to stay connected.

Streaming media -- audio, video or data -- is the greatest challenge you will face. No matter how much tech support you line up behind the effort, it is always vulnerable to gremlins. This is the internet at its highest low. By that, I mean very few people go on-line when they are happy; once again my concept that commentary on-line for the vast majority is an essentially negative medium.

Want to check your self-esteem? Read the tickets for your schools' website for a week, or maybe just one day when you're having a streaming event.

I don't necessarily fault the passion (even the frustration and anger), but it has given me a different perspective when I get mad with some other provider. Next time you get torqued, remember, there is a human, not a computer, on the other side of the browser.

On the other side, there is the growing number of content providers that are enabled by our continuing lowering of the technology level. Dan Gilmoor spoke to this future in which all the fans have 3G connectivity with HD phone cams to not only blog or twitter, but to stream our events.

Last night's OU game had generated its share of iPhone picks of the facility, and several blog-like diaries. At least one had to get a pretty good platform into the stands, or one heck of a thumb set. This will be a growing trend, and if they are university students or staff, they'll have access to the facility wireless and the potential to send their blog work out in real time.

We need to begin to prepare more and more for these two extremes -- servicing our fan's digital consumption needs and managing our fan's digital creation desires.

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