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When Mobile Podcasting Leads to Mobcasting

Categories: Citizen Media, Ideas

I've just posted a blog entry on my website [1] that might be of interest. It's about mobcasting [2]– the idea of combining mobile phone-enable podcasting with smart mob-like group action. The blog was inspired by a tutorial I wrote yesterday on how to podcast with only a smartphone [2].Here's a snippet from the blog:

What do I mean by mobcasting? Well, it's really a double entrendre, if you will: a play on both mobile podcasting and Smart Mobs, Howard Rheingold's notion of viral-like social coordination enabled by information and communications technologies. Smart mobs got a lot of hype last year in the mainstream media, usually in the form of surrealistic group performance art initiated over the Internet. But smart mobs are much more powerful than just a group of college kids showing up in an art gallery at 12:15pm, standing on one foot and yelling “Tevye, get off the roof!” before dispersing without further comment. Like the case of SMS use during the anti-Estrada demonstrations in the Philippines, smart mobs can be any form of group social action enabled by ICTs.

A quick example: 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.

Here's the permalink:

http://www.andycarvin.com/000712.html [2]

Would love to hear your thoughts on the concept…. -andy