Not sure if this is what Christopher Isherwood had in mind when he came up with Goodbye To Berlin 60 years ago. His protagonist’s position was essentially as a passive recorder of things encountered. But how about actually streaming live video straight from your smartphone to a website, which anyone in the world can watch? This seems to me – for the next few years at least – to be something you’d actively commit to as a concious (though possibly spontaneous) decision.
In a few years time, when cameras are built in to your spectacles or headbands or even right into your bionic eyeballs, you may find it simpler to assume that everyone you meet is probably recording you on their own personal live streaming video channel. This should make everyone behave a bit better towards each other shouldn’t it? (Well, that’s one way of looking at the total lack of privacy).
So how easy is it right now? Turns out it’s a doddle and you can set up your phone to do it in about five minutes. And it can cost you nothing at all beyond what you’re already paying for your mobilistry.You can choose your phone from quite a large selection of them – if your phone can record video at all then you’ll probably be able to download the qik app for it.
I got it the usual way, by having my app store send me an sms with a link, from which I installed it. Then your phone camera starts and you’re invited to create an account (user name, an email address, your mob number if you like, a password) and – if you’re doing this at home (or on the move with a nearby public browser to hand) – within minutes you can see your live phone video streaming away in a little window on a website whose sole purpose is to stream your live video. To be able to do that so quickly is quite gratifying. Even just five years ago it might have been considered witchcraft by most mobile phone users.
But you might want to create your qik account first, before you download the app to your phone (but obviously this may turn out to be a waste of time if you can’t later get the app installed). If you do it that way, then you can instead opt to use your facebook or twitter account (smoke ‘em if you got ‘em). So you may not need to create yet another set of credentials for yet another web service.
On the qik website itself, you can set up your profile and connections to your blogs, to your tumblr account, to your aforementioned facebook and twitter accounts, to your youtube account, etc. “Now why would it be that it’d be that which you’d be wanting to be doing?” I hear you say in your best faux-Irish accent. Well, it’s because you can save your videos to any of those services you’re already using for sharing videos or audioboos or pictures with your extant social circle (or ring).
So when you encounter a difficult public servant or a truculent official or a cowboy builder or whatever – and it occurs to you to start recording them on video, you can be reasonably confident that even if nobody happens to be watching your live video stream at the time (which you have to admit is going to be pretty damn unlikely, who the hell do you think you are anyway – Tarantino?) your video will be posted to facebook or youtube or your blog where you and your chums can gasp in awe and point with appropriate derision at the antics of your filmed adversary. And this video will stay up on the intertubes for as long as you like.