Podcast Video | Posted by Phil Leigh on July 23, 2009
If you would like to consider the implications of a video-centric Wikipedia, this audio program is for you.
As reported in Technology Review, the Wikipedia Foundation will soon be launching an editable online video encyclopedia. According to Alexa, Wikipedia is the World’s seventh most popular website. Consider how often you visit the site and ponder your reaction if many of its articles provided relevant video.
In our analysis, the implications of a video-centric Wikipedia are profound. Perhaps the most important result will be transcendence in the public perception of media itself. The walls separating earlier silos of radio for sound, television for video, and newspapers for print, will collapse. In response, our culture will begin to routinely use the Internet as a mixed-media resource. This will lead to an expectation that users can access media on-demand in whatever form desired whether it be text, graphics, animation, video, or audio.
Consider the following.
First, the Wikipedia could become the-center-of-gravity for news. It could replace television, radio, and newspapers as the preferred destination. Topics can be updated nearly instantaneously from a large number of self-policing “journalists”. Furthermore, the updates might include on-the-spot video and audio recordings. Finally, since most topics were prepared earlier as Wikipedia articles, each addition is automatically connected to an abundance of background and context along with branching links to sources and related material.
Second, after a critical threshold of Wikipedia articles contain video we’ll expect the website to be available on TV. If the set-makers and CATV operators don’t provide it then we’ll connect our TV to a computer. That way the TV can function as both a monitor for the (Internet-connected) computer as well as a conventional TV.
For example, consider someone with an intense interest in the history of World War II. Eventually, a video-centric Wikipedia will have an abundance of public domain video footage posted and indexed within the applicable article. Moreover, the videos will be continually updated with new postings from archives from various nations.
Third, once a video-centric Wikipedia is accessible on our TVs, we’re going to require a user-friendly search device. For example, a Yahoo Widget that merely transports us to the Wikipedia home page is going to be all but useless. We must be able to navigate to the desired content easily and also to explore related articles without difficulty. Such needs may imply a consumer preference for (as yet unannounced) browser-centric TVs as opposed to a Widget platform.
Fourth, if Internet access to copyrighted TV shows and movies is too expensive, or limited, viewers are going to start watching other Internet videos. A video-centric Wikipedia is merely one example. But it is a potentially profound one since it is already such a popular website and has the potential to grow infinitely.