Monday, January 17, 2005

Welcome to Mobcasting!

Hi everyone. My name is Andy Carvin, and I've created this blog as an experiment in mobcasting. Mobcasting combines two ideas: mobile phone podcasting and Smart Mobs. Mobile phone podcasting is the idea of using a mobile phone to post RSS-enabled audio, or podcasts, to the Internet. Smart Mobs, meanwhile, is a concept coined by Howard Rheingold in which groups of people engage each other in a viral-like fashion using the Internet or other technologies.

My idea of mobcasting is simple: giving a group of people involved in a particular event (a protest march, a public gathering, etc) the ability to post their own podcasts to the Internet and aggregate them in such a way that other Internet users can access them as a collective experience. Here's a mobcasting example I wrote in an essay on my blog:

Imagine a large protest at a political convention. During the protest, police overstep their authority and begin abusing protesters, sometimes brutally. A few journalists are covering the event, but not live. For the protestors and civil rights activists caught in the melee, the police abuses clearly need to be documented and publicized as quickly as possible. Rather than waiting for the handful of journalists to file a story on it, activists at the protest capture the event on their video phones -- dozens of phones from dozens of angles. Thanks to the local 3G (or community wi-fi) network, the activists immediately podcast the footage on their blogs. The footage gets aggregated on a civil rights website thanks to the RSS feeds produced by the podcasters' blogs. (Or perhaps they all podcast their footage directly to a centralized website, a la OneWorld TV but with an RSS twist.) This leads to coverage by bloggers throughout the blogosphere, which leads to coverage by the mainstream media, which leads to demands of accountability by the general public. That's mobcasting.

So I've decided to create this blog as an experiment. Using Blogger's audioblogging tool, I hope to invite other Blogger members to use this blog as a place where they can all post audio blogs, hopefully in the context of an event in which they're all participating. I have no idea how well this will work, but I figured it would be worth giving it a try, particularly on someone else's server. (grin)

Anyway, thanks for visiting. I'll post more information on this idea once I get the blog fully set up. Thanks! -andy


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