So before embarking on my Eurotrip my girlfriend bought me a Flip Mino mini camcorder. Smaller than most most cellphones the Flip comes equipped with speakers a LCD display as well as a built in USB port so you don't have to worry about losing any cords, a huge help while traveling. The big question regarding this technology is whether or not the convenience is outweighed by the loss of quality from a larger, more expensive model. In my opinion these cameras are not simply a blip on the radar but are fast becoming one of the most important means of personal, political, and media expression available.
With the advent of the YouTube generation people have an incredible desire to voice their opinions (or share funny videos of the their children and pets) and these cameras provide a low cost but technologically advanced means of transmitting these things. More importantly however camera's such as the Flip are empowering the average person and making them a contributing player in a much larger (in many cases) global exchange on a number of issues Politics has not been unaffected following the introduction of this technology either. David Plouffe, Campaign Manager for then Senator Barack Obama's Presidential Campaign, discusses in his book The Audacity to Win the incredible effect video messages had in campaign e-mails. Interestingly enough Obama supporters were not yearning for a clip with an especially high production value, instead they wanted something real. This desire for something authentic is what has propelled the video diary of freshman Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah to an internet sensation on CNN's Freshman Year video blog. The UK has also seen the introduction of highly portable video camera's in Conservative Leader David Cameron's WebCameron video exclusives. In addition to providing a real look at the inner working of politics video messaging also gives voters not simply a name, or logo but a face and a person to identify with.
Portable video technology will also create a more fluid definition of the news media than exists even today. With almost anyone able to produce, record, or create a clip the sky truly is the limit in regards to who can break the next story or be first on the scene of a major topic.