Beth Kanter’s birthday card to screencasting

Beth Kanter made a birthday card for the third anniversary of the term screencast1, and included a screencast in which she reflects on her use of the medium, and on what the future may hold.

Beth’s using Jing too, thinks it may be part of an emerging micromedia trend, and points to Jeremiah Owyang’s definition: micromedia “provides bite-sized voice and video to micro audiences.”

Meanwhile Mary Branscombe asks:

Is so much content online in bite sized chunks because it’s easier to put up (not necessarily if you’re taking the effort to bite off the right chunk) or easier to consume?

Both, although point taken about mastery of the short form. Ironic, isn’t it? We fast forward through the 15- and 30-second chunks on TV, then create our own and watch each other’s.

Beth sees micromedia through a teaching/training lens, as do I. For me there’s also the bug-report aspect — it seems mundane, but it’d be huge for the software business if users could give developers narrated demos of the problems they’re having, rather than verbal descriptions.

Jeremiah Owyang emphasizes the social aspect:

Quick audio or video messages published to a trusted social community. May be created and consumed using mobile technology, and often distributed using other social media tools.

I hope we’ll also see broader, Wikipedia-like uses that pool collective knowledge. An awful lot of what we know is best conveyed by showing and telling directly, rather than by abstractly describing. Lawnmower maintenance, social bookmarking, or any other knowledge-based skill — in the physical or the virtual world — can be demonstrated and cataloged. As micromedia tools lower the activation threshold, that encyclopedia can be written — or rather, performed and recorded and uploaded.

1 I always like to point out, as Wikipedia currently says, that I only invited readers of my blog to propose names, and selected the term screencast. It was Joseph McDonald and Deeje Cooley who both (separately) proposed the term.

I also like to point out that nothing was invented, and that the medium has a long history going back to (as far as I can remember) Lotus Screencam. My contributions were to realize that the medium was radically underappreciated, to explore it, and to evangelize it.

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5 thoughts on “Beth Kanter’s birthday card to screencasting

  1. Your last point about the social collection of short screencasts – that was my evil plan. Last year, I labored over putting together an instructional resource for nonprofit folks – challenging them – I’m giving this away with the hope that I won’t have to do any more screencasts that I can simply aggregate yours. Jing hadn’t made it debut, but I think it might make that idea more a reality.

    Maybe Jeremiah will make a micro-screencast!

  2. I’m not sure documenting bugs is a micromedia thing; I was doing the Jing thing for you last night and I hit the five minute limit before I’d shown the whole behaviour. Maybe I’m too prolix though!

    My ideal bugcasting would be to have a button on the support site that starts up a chat with a tech with another button that gives them a view of my screen and *they* are recording that – and can ask to reach out and show me the change that fixes it. More of a client server view than peer to peer publishing, I suppose – folksonomies ultimately frustrate me because I can’t get to a master hierarchy to navigate quickly and I think backbone architectures are more efficient than free for all connections. I know top down has an appeal of elegance for me and I see bottom up as quick and dirty. I like systems that mix the two, but at the moment they involve huge amounts of hard computing somewhere…

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