We seem to be becoming a nation of exhibitionists. We tweet our current whereabouts, Facebook where we've been, Instagram what we've seen, Pintrest what we like. We invite virtual strangers into our classrooms, boardrooms, bathrooms, and bedrooms. Modest folks openly discuss their personal views while the more uninhibited among us show off their private bits as if they were raised in Sweden.
And the rest of us watch.
We are informed, entertained, titillated and disgusted by what we see, hear, read, and watch, and we seem to have an insatiable appetite for more.
I had thought that social media was a fad that was peaking and pretty soon people, in general, will find something else to focus on. I could be wrong.
As personal bandwidth and cloud computing usage expands people are finding more ways see and be seen by each other. Now there are apps and services that let you broadcast live video to others, a one-way stream that puts you, or whatever you want to focus on, in front of friends, family, or anyone in the world, live, uncut, and unedited.
Hang W/ is the app and service I'm talking about. It's being billed as a celeb watch app and Hang W/ promises an increasing list of celebrities, but anyone can be the celebrity. Yes, even you.
Lots of stuff to see on Hang W/
Here's how it works:
1. Get the Hang W/ app. It's free, else I wouldn't be talking about it here.
2 Create an account on Hang W/, it's also free.
3. Start broadcasting.
Yes. it's that simple. Of course, no one may be watching your first broadcast, but that's OK, the folks at Hang With Inc. have thought of that too. When you broadcast, Hang W/ puts your transmission in the "Broadcasting Now" area so that other Hang W/ users can check it out. When they do you can see the numbers of watchers increase while you transmit. You can live-chat with your watchers too. This is cool, but be warned, some people have attention spans measured in femtoseconds and single digit IQs with vocabularies to match, and they don't mind showing off their limited language skills in comments. If you offend easily then don't broadcast to the public.
Broadcasting is easy even if it's not interesting
When you're done giving the world a peek inside your world simply stop broadcasting. You can title your show for your archives, move it to your Top 6 Broadcasts area, and share archived casts with others. That's it.
YOU CANNOT ERASE AN ARCHIVED CAST. So if you record something you later wish you hadn't, tough.
You can choose to have your casts made private and you select who can view.
Other settings include the ability to link, notify and get notified via the major social services like Facebook and Twitter, select genre oriented channels (athletes, bands, fashion, so on), see who you're following and who's following you.
On the watcher's side you can surf archived and featured casts or see who's broadcasting now. It takes about 15-20 seconds to connect to a cast, once there you can watch in silence or comment and see what others are commenting. Again, if you're easily offended then you should not watch public broadcasts. It will make you wonder if humanity has any hope at all.
Not a forum for kids, but they are there
Speaking of which, if you do surf the public channels then take note of who's broadcasting and who's watching. For instance, I noticed a lot of kids in school broadcasting while in class with the teacher doing her thing. The agreement for using Hang W/ is that you're 17 or older. The kids I saw were obviously younger. And the comments were atrocious.
I also found some broadcasts that bordered on soft porn. Again, the comments were horrible. Hang W/ provides an option for you to block an account if things from a particular viewer gets out of hand, but it's easy to fake an account and come in again.
I asked the makers of Hang W/ about their policy on kids access, rudeness, and content. Here's what the had to say:
Given the nature of the app, it was always going to be a challenge, and one that we recognized from the offset. The app is monitored 24/7 by a team of moderators across the globe. They are able to 'kill' a broadcast instantly and terminate the users account. This is also the case with people who are commenting on a broadcast; their account can be terminated. Our moderators can view multiple broadcasts at any one time which enables them to keep a handle on what is happening. We take a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to bullying, lewd, violent and offensive behavior - therefore we decided not to give a 'slap on the wrist' to offenders, but to ban them instantly. In terms of children using the app we have made it clear that Hang w/ is intended for adult users hence the 17+ rating.
Hang W/ can be a lot of fun for wannabe stars or for those wishing to keep others clued in on their lives either publicly or privately and for those who like to keep close tabs on celebrities. As with any public forum, there can be problems with the socially immature among us, so be mindful of that when you make your first broadcast.
These comments are benign, others, not so much.
Legend has it that on maps drawn by old world cartographers, in uncharted regions the mapmakers sometimes warned, "Here be dragons." Broadcasting on Hang W/ has its appeal as long as you keep that warning in mind.
That's a wrap for this week. Please be sure to check out the free App of the Week, Snoopy Coaster. It looks like fun, but be warned, there's potential for in-app purchase abuse.