How to Make YouTube and Chromecast More Social

Adding a subscriptions tab to profile pages would make YouTube more social, greatly improve Chromecast viewing and empower both users and creators while bolstering views. If it were easier for YouTube users to see what their friends were watching, it would make it easier — and more fun — to discover new programming and subscribe to more channels on YouTube, while empowering the personal profile/channel as a social platform.

“Google doesn’t get social media.” This sentiment’s been bandied about since the dawn of social in the mid-aughts. Google executive chairman of the board Eric Schmidt even admitted recently that his biggest regret as CEO was “not anticipating the rise of social…”

Social media can be very loosely defined as a construct¬†and in the ever-changing operating system of the web and its users, Google is still poised to thrive even as it continues to slowly, but surely ramp up its own platform, Google+. But things begin to get real when some key moves are made to create a more social environment within YouTube. While SoundCloud took cues to become the YouTube equivalent for audio, YouTube can learn from SoundCloud’s superior integration of social subscription discovery and how that improves the user experience.

YouTube Chromecast Subscribe to ChannelsYouTube is Google’s gateway to the living room and with the $35 Chromecast dongle now available in several countries, YouTube could become the primary source of both information and entertainment for both cable subscribers and cord-cutters alike. Chromecast makes it easier than ever to watch online video on a television. Sure, Roku and Apple TV have been around for years but Chromecast has the best YouTube integration and can be controlled via native mobile apps or a laptop.

What’s missing? A way to navigate and discover YouTube content based on your personal interest and those of your peers.¬†A more social YouTube can empower not only users but also content creators while redefining the way we use Chromecast.

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Unofficial SXSW 2014 Parties You Should RSVP To

Jay-Z at Austin City Limits Live ACL Live 2012 SXSW
RSVP to many events. Then roll with it. You might end up front and center like this (Jay-Z at ACL Live, SXSW 2012).

SXSW Interactive is one of the most attended conferences of the year for tech and media types, with 30,000 conference participants flooding Austin. But in recent years, the cost of an official interactive badge has gone up considerably and many are attending unofficial SXSW parties and related events that do not require badges. For people who have never attended SXSWi, it’s good to go with a badge at least one year — the depth and breadth of content discussed across hundreds of panels and sessions can be as valuable and high quality as the networking you’ll do. However, it gets redundant year after year. In past years I’ve attended the music portion of SXSW as well — this is incredibly fun and far fewer people spend time in the actual convention center. Why would you with all the amazing day parties and live music showcases across sunny Austin? Here’s a shortlist of unofficial events that I’ve RSVP’d for this year. For more info and discovery of unofficial SXSW parties I recommend Sched.org, do512, and Unofficial SXSW Guide.

Want to meet up in Austin? I’ll be there from March 6-12. Hit me up!

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Coachella 2013 Highlights, Videos and Photos

coachella 2013

This year’s Coachella lineup was underwhelming from the start, so much so that I didn’t plan on going until a pass fell in my lap about a week before the festival. It wasn’t necessarily the bands in the lineup that I thought was weak, it was the lack of originality and dynamics that I’ve come to expect from a Coachella. No Rolling Stones or David Bowie. No Replacments. Hardly any hip-hop, punk or imaginative electronic music. Too many wimpy “punch-me-in-the-face” bands like Phoenix, The xx, Postal Service… Basically, i feared Coachella had lost its edge. As much as the environment and experience was always more than fulfilling to me, I wasn’t ready to shell out $500 in support of a lineup that seemed staged for taking a big nap on the Polo Grounds.

coachella 2013 panoramic from ferris wheel
Coachella 2013 Panorama from Ferris Wheel: Click to embiggen

In the end I had a blast — Coachella is one of those great experiences that triggers dopamine bursts just at the thought. The first heat of late spring under the desert sun, 100,000 people all out for good times, good music and big smiles. 6 stages (with this year’s introduction of the Yuma Tent) and all kinds of inebriating distractions.

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Interview: Calexico’s Joey Burns

Calexico Joey Burns interviewThe lights went out last time Calexico visited Los Angeles. Fans at the Fonda Theatre waited for hours in darkness, but a Hollywood Boulevard power outage literally stole the show. “My parents were there, my sister and the whole label and we’re all sitting in the dark,” said Joey Burns, singer and guitarist for the band. “I loved every moment and we probably could’ve played acoustically, but there were safety concerns.”

Calexico’s seventh long-player, Algiers, had recently dropped, marking the band’s first opportunity to play live for its new label, Anti. But after a short acoustic song, Burns bid the remaining crowd good night with a promise to return in January. And tonight, Calexico makes good on its promise at the El Rey.

This interview originally posted at LAist.

We caught up with Joey Burns, Calexico’s principal member, to talk about his L.A. upbringing, life in Tucson and more.

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