Friday, June 19, 2009

YouTube As-One Meetup in San Francisco

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A few months ago, a few vloggers (that's video-bloggers), most located in the SF Bay Area, and a few from other parts of the country came to meet in North Beach for the San Francisco YouTube As-One Meetup.

Now you're probably thinking "What's the heck is that." Well, the idea was started in 2007 by Cory Williams, AKA "Mr. Safety" who's current claim to fame is something called "The Mean Kitty Song" and who's knack for making viral videos has earned him celebrity status in the vloggerverse, if there is such a thing.

Ok. There is. The vloggerverse.

Anyway, the idea is for YouYube vloggers, or YouTubers, to get together at one place and get to know each other in a real-time physical environment. Mr. Safety organized the first one of these at Pier 39 in San Francisco and included then then major star of YouTube, Renetto, who flew out from Ohio to be a part of the event.

That gathering, helped along by YouTube's marketing staff, attracted about 200 people, 60 of them YouTubers, and was a ton of fun. There have been "As-One" meetups in New York, London, Australia and other cities I'm not aware of. (But frankly it hasn't really caught on as I thought it would for reasons I'll get into later in this post. ) The San Francisco As-One held in March was a new stab at re-establishing the trend of events like this. The organizers even made a cool video:

Personally, I really loved meeting all the vloggers and the wanna-be vloggers, but something's missing from the concept.

I think that something is a thing to do other than just standing around. The first As-One was really cool because the YouTubers that arrived really just re-started online conversations offine before the cameras, thus putting them online again. For example, Renetto's great at talking about race without bringing his emotions into it. He's a talker and an idea exchanger; that shines through in his videos. But a lot of that conversational activity that used to gain viewers has been replaced by fake sex tape videos, music videos, the Associated Press, and Oprah.

For Renetto, YouTube adding Oprah was the last straw. He helped start a new vlogger community of which I'm a part called Vloggerheads. There, the kind of conversations Renetto enjoyed on YouTube before it got big have been replicated on Vloggerheads. So now, the kind of community energy once there has gone to a degree and that's reflected in the As-One meetups.

What's the answer?

Well, having something to do is one. That could mean having the events at restaurants or bars which helps market those places. The As-One concept's also perfect for events, too (especially street fairs). In other words, when we YouTuber's come to As-One's the producers should have a plan for us. All that camcorder firepower's a waste just pointing them at each other.

So, if you're getting the view that I have a plan of my own, I do.

Something completely different.

Stay tuned.

Facebook was down;; was it an Iranian government plot?

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YouTube, MySpace, Metacafe,, Sclipo and Viddler

I was just heading to Facebook to test a theory on profile settings for a friend when I noticed the page wasn't coming up. I got the famous "the connection to the server was reset while the page was loading" message, so I refreshed the screen and the same thing happened: nothing. Still I had to make sure it wasn't me, so I sent out a tweet on Twitter (see the video). @egratto responded experiencing the same problem. We're both located in California, but I'm in Georgia, so location wasn't the reason.

Facebook was down.

Facebook has about 175 million users so for that five to ten minutes of time communication stopped a lot of people were impacted, which leads to this question: Was it an Iranian government plot? I mean think about it. They want to get Twitter but maybe, just maybe someone over there tried to take down Facebook too?

Considering the historic importance of Twitter and Facebook in communicating what can be called the Iranian Revolution, having either system malfunction would really make the hard-liners happy. But it raises another question: have Twitter and Facebook now become too important to have just one of their kind? I'm guessing there's a redundant system somewhere for both, but is that the case?

We're entering a new era of World communications where what was once considered a hickup could now impact national security and personal freedom.

UPDATE: I checked further and determined that the message regarding the connection happens to some who try to use Facebook from the Mozilla Firefox browser, which I was using at the time, but not frequently. In other words its not an everyday happening. But that problem is generally related to internet connection problems; I had none and was on six different sites at the same time. But I can't yet confirm the use of that browser for anyone else at the time and it's never happened to me before.

Over at my YouTube page a viewer commented:

Facebook and Yahoo was down yesterday for me for an hour and I was told by my IP that they were having technical problems.

Just my luck I had spent a good amount of time writing a message when it failed. ARGH !

Also, I learned that CNET reported a similar problem last year, when Facebook was having what they called "outage issues" experienced by their editors in San Francisco, Boston and New York, so it's not something that's a one-time glitch but that it happened today on this important week in Iranian history is worth conversation and investigation.