JTV Goes to Black and an International Dance-Off

****I need to preface tonight’s post with a note — the JTV network crashed this morning — at about 2am. The chat rooms work, the pages display, but the streams are dead on all channels. It is just black. With some quick thinking, some lifecasters figured out a work around. It is too late in the game for me to rework this entire post, so I will tell you that the details are near the bottom. But … I believe it’s important to read from the top down because it’s almost uncanny that I decided to write about the lack of corporate communications at JTV hours — about 12 hours prior to the network crash. It’s another long post — yeah, right — so what the hell else is new Justopia, so you will need to have patience to get through it. 🙂

Question

Before I get started I need to ask a question. Forgive me for being so serious, so business minded but … If you had a business with oh, I don’t know, about 20 contractors (unpaid contractors) wouldn’t you want them to know the basics about the company they were connected to? What I am getting at is this — We, the faithful, know that as of this weekend the placement of the streams on the front page is based on popularity. Actually, it appears to be based on popularity on the back page as well. Number of viewers is the measure. The more viewers, the further to the left you move. Simple concept, it seems to work. As I mentioned previously, the higher profile the stream, the more disruption to chat with kinds coming and going, but that’s life in the world of chat – far and wide.

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An almost peaceful place — The Farmer’s Market in Portland, Oregon — June 2007

What I find most odd about this is that when I was in Sarah’s room for a few minutes this morning she was not aware that they had made this change to the platform. I heard them talk about it in the Officecam stream just before they put it into place, so I knew it was happening, and then I could clearly see it happening. We saw Melinus make it to the #1 spot yesterday and Justine, although often in the #2 or #3 spot, is being usurped by Lisa and others. Sarah has had her time in the #1 spot occasionally as well. But Sarah did not realize this was how the platform is now working. She thought placement really had nothing to do with popularity. How can the Lifecasters not know what the method to the madness is on JTV?

I blame the fratboys — someone should be communicating to the people that they are counting on to draw viewers to the site — the Lifecasters — in a professional, well thought out manner. I wonder if they ever send out any kind of company communications? Here’s a thought … if Lifecasters knew they would get more prominent placement by having more viewers, they just might go out and promote the site. Hmmm…seems to me that might be the way to get more overall JTV viewership, and I think that’s what Justin, Michael, Emmett and Kyle are striving for. Does anybody think I am off track here? How great would it be if they actually had a comm team — a person or two (until they get bigger) to put together a process and to do something with the stream pages to make them more uniform or so that they have notices that might be helpful for viewers — such as the Melinus – jSpin dance-off this afternoon. There are probably infinite way to promote the site and the lifecasters, but no attention is being paid to this.

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Do you ever feel like you have your head in your hands out of frustration?

First off though, most importantly is letting he Lifecasters know what is on tap. If stream placement was going to change I would have said this in an email. Hell, I’d probably have a conference bridge set up and a weekly call with all current lifecasters. This is the opportunity to make a real business out of this thing. To make these original lifecasters the core of the lifecaster portion of the business.

Well, I will step down from my soapbox — it’s overly apparent I need a real job and to step away from JTV for a while. If nothing else, maybe a vacation on an island in the Maldives! 🙂 Ahhhhh, what a thought.

Oh, but wait! The popularity numbers seem to be off in some way. Someone pointed out to me that Justin is on the far left, but others had higher viewer numbers at the time. When we looked, Justine had 71 and Justin had 45. Clearly Justine should have been out in front. Perhaps they are calculating viewer numbers differently than we expect — maybe IRC is not included or something like that? I don’t know, but I have now heard two people talk about it, so it’s obvious to some.

To the Victor Goes the Spoils

Just what does that mean? What are the spoils anyway? A drink with Justin – on the winner?

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Linus watches jSpin take a turn around the carpet

After much anticipation, Linus and jSpin had their much anticipated Dance-off. It got started a bit late, and then the guys had to pick their songs. Once things began, it went smoothly. They seemed to enjoy what they were doing and the viewers were having a great time. People migrated from jSpin to Melinus and back with each dance. Jiibah was a good sport and opened his room for voting. He and one of his friends collected votes and I don’t quite understand he results. For all the people watching, there were only a total of somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 votes. I don’t know if people were intimidated, confused or just apathetic, but it seems like a low voter turnout to me.

In the end, Linus was declared the winner, but both were gentlemen and voted for each other. We don’t see that kind of courtesy in our lives often, do we?

Jiibah and I are planning to meet on Friday and to put together a better process for voting. I have some ideas. This is the absolute proof that I need steady employment STAT! The good news, JTV has helped me give my gray matter a work out, the bad news, it doesn’t pay the bills.

Voting Just Like on American Bandstand

After each dance, I wanted a way to say — “Well Dick, it had a great beat and you can dance to it.” Even if I didn’t feel that way. It was very American Bandstand-ish in it’s own Web2.0 way. If Dick Clark was hosting the JTV Dance-off, I wonder how he would have reacted to the performances?

We’re goin’ hoppin’
We’re goin’ happin’
Where things are poppin’
The philadelphia way
We’re gonna drop in
On all the music they play
On the bandstand

We’re goin’ swingin’
We’re gonna swing in the crowd
And we’ll be clingin’
And floatin’ high as a cloud
The phones are ringin’
My mom and dad are so proud
I’m on bandstand

And I’ll jump, and hey,
I may even show’em my handstand
Because I’m on,
because I’m on the american bandstand
when we dance real slow
I’ll show all the guys in the grandstand
What a swinger I am,
I am on american bandstand

We’re goin’ hoppin’
We’re goin’ happin’
Where things are poppin’
The philadelphia way
We’re gonna drop in
On all the music they play
On the bandstand

Bandstand bandstand bandstand

Hey I’m makin’ my mark
Gee, this joint is jumpin’
They made such a fuss just to see us arrive
Hey, it’s Mr.Dick Clark
What a place you’ve got here

Swell spot the music
Best in the east,
Give it at least a seventy five!

Now for all you Joe’s
Here goes my american handstand
Because I’m on,
Because I’m on the american bandstand
As we dance real slow
I’m showin’ the guys in the grandstand
That I like my girl,
But I love american bandstand

The singers’ croonin’
He ain’t the greatest but gee
My baby’s swoonin’
In front of all of TV
So if you tune in
You’ll see my baby and me
On the bandstand

And now we’re hoppin’
(it’s boss, baby it’s boss) (there you go!)
and we’ll be happin’ all day
(it’s cool, baby it’s cool!) (what a show!)
The philadelphia way
And you can drop in
(no school, baby no school!) (wave hello!)
On all the music they play
On the bandstand

And we’ll rock and roll and stroll on american
Lindy hop and slop, it’s american
Tune in, I’m on, turn on, I’m in, I’m on

Today! (Bandstand)

Meltdown

It appears that part of the network has fallen on it’s head this morning — it’s 1:50 EDT and all channels are black. In Jeffy’s room, things are normal — the Jeffy community is chatting and speculating on what might have happened, and just generally enjoying themselves. Jeffy, Justine and Justin have viewers — in the 30’s, but the other streams have died pretty much dead — single digits in most cases. Points to the fact that it seems to be the chat community that is keeping JTV afloat. I can not imagine what would happen if chat crashed with the streams. I would also like to point out that now would be a perfect opportunity for a Corporate Communications team to do some damage control. They could come into each room and post a message, they could collect email addresses at some point and sent mail with an update. If they took the network down on purpose, they could inform people in advance. I have seen Emmett tell people in the past when there were just a couple of rooms that this was going to happen.

If they had a Communications program, there could be an SOP for how to handle this type of event. Ah! It slays me that they don’t have the good sense to put this kind of thing in place. I could whip up a Corp Comm plan in a day. I am tempted to do it and send it over, but … JTV has not fried that many of my brain cells … YET!

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What I find most interesting is how the dynamics changed when the lights went out. The room got quieter, although the chatter got quiet, the number of viewers did not diminish. It went almost flat in most other rooms and one lifecaster came into Jeffy’s room to send a link to his ustream feed for people to go and watch. I checked it out, there were only 2 viewers in there, but it does make me question the competitive nature of lifecasting. If streams get prominence by number of viewers, and other lifecasters come into a room to promote their site — a competitor’s platform — is that fair or foul play?

I see other lifecasters in Jeffy’s room now looking for help and it’s amazing to me that the lifecasters are having to figure out how to handle the crash on their own.

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Look to the bottom right of the page — you will see that jSpin embedded his ustream feed into this JTV channel — all in the hope that he could keep his JTV viewers happy. I think it was intelligent thinking on his behalf. If the fratboys wanted to keep the viewers on JTV they would have processes set up, they would get off their dime and let people know what is going on, they could have sent messages into the room, could put banner notices up on the top of the home page — somethign — anything!

Justin — Michael — Emmett — Kyle — Jacob !!!! You need to draft a corporate communications plan and execute on it! Imagine if people realize that the streams on ustream are more clear, smoother, friendlier to watch? What would happen to JTV then? It’s time for damage control and a the ball is in your court now.

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And Jeffy finally got into the act. He was up and running and the room was abuzz like normal once again.

And on a final note — I find this hard to believe but, one of the lifecasters said he didn’t want to call Justin because he is in New York and that no one should call him — to “let him sleep.”  Justin is the CEO or the President or the Founder or the … whatever title he wants to use of Justin.tv — why shouldn’t he be called?!  If there is no SOP then how do the lifecasters know who to reach out to?

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8 Responses

  1. A truly insightful post.

    I think the boys might be suffering from a lack of experience, and seem to be living in the now.. trying to get sold.. and when a potential buyer ask them for their 5 year plan, they just might hand over the blank sheet of paper that they were doodling on during the meeting, because ‘being the youtube of lifecasting’ might not work when youtube lets you lifecast.

    I absolutely love the fact that the lifecasters posted ustream DIRECTLY ON THE JTV PAGE! If you were on ABC, how happy do you think they would be if you went to CBS to publish your content because your network was down?

  2. I agree Gulo. The interesting thing will be to see if a potential buyer even cares about the long term, or if the may be interested in picking them up to add to their portfolio of acquisitions and think about how to engineer the business later. If they want to purchase JTV and have the fratboys continue to run it that is a totally different story. I would think then they would want to see a solid plan — or at the very least — back o the napkin ideas — that the guys are using. Do I think much of that exists? No. They totally spend their lives thinking about today and whatever comes tomorrow is like an added bonus or a major intrusion to them. At least that’s how it’s appeared from this side of the monitor for 124 days.

    Today is a new day and I am stunned that they have stated nothing — officially — about what happened, about how they feel about lifecasters having to resort (quite cleverly, I might add) to ustream to get them back up and running and to satisfy their viewers — the CUSTOMERS (albeit non paying) while it seemed, from this side that no one was answering their phones or paying attention.

    I hear Justin has a date with CNN coming up. I sure would love it if they’d read me. Would be interesting to see the interviewer ask Justin about this outage and about previous outages. He thought Ann Curry ate his lunch with her simple questions — he could find himself feeling much differently about that benign Today show appearance 3-plus months ago. 🙂

  3. Yes the boys are a bit outside the corporate world at this stage. I consider this at a Beta Stage. Stuff happens.

    I am not sure I would agree they need a full time PR person but they could use some organization to communicate with the life casters.

    Perhaps they can pick up a marketing/business intern from Stanford, UCB, Santa Clara Univ,, San Jose State, USF etc etc. If they want someone with experience there are retired people available who want to keep active after making their fortunes in Silicon Valley

    Investors may be interested in the technology they develop and not the format. Time will tell on this. In any case if they don’t have a stable platform they are cooked turkeys for sure.

  4. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the comment!

    I really wasn’t talking a PR person — just a person that could put together a basic communications plan and help them execute it, although someone a PR background, like you say, from one of the local universities would be a good addition as well, and not needed on a full time basis. That person’s input could be very valuable coupled with some well-done communications to viewers and, probably more importantly, the lifecasters. Perhaps what they really need first is a good advisor. Again, not someone full time, but someone that can help them navigate some of the waters they, at times, seem to drift aimlessly through.

    On the other hand, we don’t hear much of anything from them anymore, so its also likely they are working through things we just don’t have any view into. You know, like a “normal” business that is not on display all the time.

  5. At least they have a Terms of Service…but nothing like putting the cart before the horse (Mods then a Terms of service). But then being a long timer like yourself I never had to click on an ‘I Agree’ button to set up my nic…and you still don’t …lol..things change but if we don’t see them do they really change. Just had to use an Emmett-esque phrase.
    I missed the great black sounds like the only communication going on is with the lifecasters helping out each other and no help from the actual Brand….that’s a shame

  6. Hey Peekers!

    I mentioned you in the post tonight! I haven’t seen you around in a while and wondered where you were. And yes, it’s not usual to make a TOS after the fact and not having anyone sign it, electronically, or for that matter — how about letting people know? It will be interesting to see how things progress.

    Thanks for the comment! And I’m happy to see you.

  7. Tell Jiibah I said hello !

  8. Hey Stacia,

    Sadly, I am not going to be able to get out of the house yet, but I think we will “meet” via phone.

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