Facebook Live and slow TV

Long, super boring video is not new. In 2009 Norway’s public broadcasting company ran a seven-hour, uncut, un-narrated program of a train ride. About a fifth of the country tuned in. “Slow TV,” as it’s called, got its own spin-off in the UK, which included an hour of birds chirping. The US has its own tradition of pointless, mundane video, too. At Christmastime, for example, there’s the hours-long loop of a burning Yule log, which premiered in 1966.

I’m still not clear that people want to watch things that look like TV, but less good, on the Web and on their phone. Especially since Web video people have been trying that for a decade with little success. If live video on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere else ends up working, the odds are pretty high that it won’t end up looking anything like TV. Instead, it will have its own vocabulary and expectations. Still, it has to evolve from somewhere: As any New Media Commentator can tell you, regular TV first started out as radio plays, etc.

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