UPDATE: 5:46pm CT - I just received an email from Next2Friends Hans Erik informing me that Next2Friends Live does not work on the iPhone because the iPhone has locked out video. Doesn't Apple realize the value that applications like Next2Friends, Qik, and others like them could bring to the iPhone? For all their glamour, Apple still has a way to go.
The power to create compelling media is definitely firmly in the hands of the people. Never before has it been easier for anyone to capture an event as it's happening and share it with the world in an instant. Thanks to the ever growing use of low cost mobile phones and video devices like The Flip coupled with nearly ubiquitous Internet access, just about anyone can become an instant videographer and share their creation with an ever hungry public.
To support such community video efforts, numerous sites like Flixwagon, Seesmic, Qik, and others have quickly popped up around the web. Today, I'd like to introduce you to the site I use to stream my videos, Next2Friends.
Next2Friends is a fairly new company that was launched earlier this year. Like Qik and its brethren, it allows almost anyone with an internet connected phone to stream live video to the Internet. This includes owners of the iPhone and the Blackberry (the latter of which usually presents a problem with services like Qik since video recording is fairly new to the Blackberry). The video quality of the streams are very good and, even with my really bad rural T-Mobile Blackberry connection, I was able to create videos with very few quality issues.
The nicest thing about Next2Friends is the social network around the streaming service. Users can communicate one to one, one to many, or in various combinations that allow real connections to be formed. Think of it as a combination of YouTube and Seesmic but with live video.
The company is backed with $12M in private funding so it's likely to stick around for a while assuming they can either keep up funding or monetize at some point. Judging from the community I've seen developing there, monetization won't be a problem. The community is eager, established, and active.
I think you'll find something different at Next2Friends. It's not Seesmic and it's not Qik. It has its own flow and a unique community that you can immediately connect with. Give it a try and see what you think.
The power of media is definitely in our hands!