Ringback Videos, Twitter - Bah!

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Ringback Videos, Twitter - Bah!

Brough Turner, one of the best thought leaders in IP Communications, has an interesting post on IMS and its future implications. He mentions that IMS is still in its infancy, but adds "IMS enables multimedia ringback, i.e. video! So there is significant new functionality, versus today’s audio-only ringback."

Similarly, Erik Linask, fellow co-worker and Associate Editor for Internet Telephony Magazine, wrote an excellent article on ringback videos back in March. In part of the article, Erik writes, "Telenity, however, took it all to a new level, combining the ringback tones and video with its video ringback tone service for 3G networks. Users can now define music videos, news clips, or personal video messages as their ringback tones. Mobile operator Geocell has announced that it has opted to deploy Telenity’s video-enabled Canvas CoolRings solution— as the personalized video ringback tone application is called— in its 3G wireless network, having witnessed a successful demonstration, and having also previously deployed Telenity’s VideoMail application. "

Very interesting, eh? I had no idea video ringback existed today. Or at least according to Erik, it is "being deployed", so it could be here now or just weeks/months away. Will have to head over to his cubicle and ask.

In any event, I was already aware that IMS could enable multimedia ringback capability, i.e. "ringback videos", however Brough's article inspired me to write about my thoughts on ringback videos. Didn't the futuristic movie Total Recall have a scene where a video answering machine picks up? Ok, technically that's not ringback video, but a video answering machine.

The definition of a ringback video is that when you dial someone you will see the person's video clip play until they answer the phone or the call transfers to voicemail. It's an interesting concept, but one that I personally have a distaste for. I ranted against ringback tones back in 2004, when I said, "Say it ain't so! I have enough of a beef with obnoxious ringtones. Ever see someone intentionally let their phone keep "ringing" just so they could hear the rest of their damn ringtone? I just want to say to them, "Pick up the damn phone. Nobody cares about your music tastes."

I also ranted, "I don't want to dial someone's cellphone and have to listen to music I may not care for or may even be offended by. I suppose if teenagers want to use this feature, that's fine, but I pray this does not take off in the business world. When I make a business phone call I don't want to know the other person's music tastes, their political affiliation, or their religious affiliation."

Now imagine you dial someone from your multimedia capable mobile phone and your mobile phone displays the other person's recorded video ringback video. If you thought people's music tastes were bad, just imagine their video tastes. Have we become that vain that we have to force our personal music or video tastes on other people?

Back in the 1980s it was blaring boomboxes and cars with upgraded sound systems that forced other people to listen to music if they were anywhere within a 1 block radius. Blaring music is a form of self expression that basically says "This is the music I love. You should feel privileged that I am sharing this awesome music with you free of charge." Hey, I'm guilty of doing this myself, but let's call it what it is - vanity. The funny thing is I don't see people blaring their car stereos or boomboxes as much today as they did in the 1980s, so perhaps it was just a fad.

Today, technology is taking vanity to a whole other level. For instance, you can use Twitter to share exactly what you are to with your Twitter followers - everything from driving to work, to going to the bathroom, out on a date, or other personal details. I know my fellow techies see Twitter as one of the coolest Web 2.0 social applications on the Internet, but personally I could careless about Twitter. Do I really need to share my Sanjaya Faux Mohawkpersonal details with the entire world? Sure, my ego says "Hey, why the heck not? It's cool to have Twitters following my every move and posting feedback. Who doesn't like having fans? Who doesn't want fame? Fame will cause people to do stupid things like wearing a faux mohawk - i.e. Sanjaya."

On the other hand, if I I give in to my ego and join the Twitter crowd sharing every little detail in my life, why shouldn't everyone else do the same? So now we're back to the 1980s with everyone broadcasting whatever is going on in their personal space, except instead of blaring music, it's "blaring your life" in a digital fashion. Thanks, but no thanks. Web 2.0 for me has just jumped the shark.


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