In March of 2007, a young man from San Francisco, CA took a webcam, and an idea, and made an immediate impact on the concept of live web content. Coining the phrase ‘lifecasting’, Justin Kan’s life has literally been an open page, generating buzz from blogs like Trendcentral.com and Laughing Squid’s tale of strange technological synchronicity to more traditional reporting like Newsweek. Blending the lines of spectacle, life as art, and life as profit generating endeavor, Justin.tv generates income through advertisements, product placement and donations as he and his ‘cast’ document Justin’s daily routines and nightly adventures.
“I started Justin.tv because I thought it would be awesome for people to see what it was like to be Justin”, says Justin. The site runs on a basic Truman Show-inspired premise: see what someone else is doing at this very moment, 24/7. Justin’s live head-mounted cam gives viewers first-person perspective to someone else’s life. The main site page gets right to the meat of the issue, with live streaming video and a corresponding live chat where viewers can narrate or comment on Justin’s exploits. At the time of this writing, Justin was in a bar conversing with various people, all of whom were obviously well aware of the camera attached to his head, raising the question, are we actually experiencing what it’s like to be Justin, or does the awareness of everyone he interacts with somehow contaminate our observation? It’s like seeing everyone’s performance of themselves. In fact, Laughing Squid has even organized events where people can hang out with Justin, essentially playing a cameo in Justin’s lifecast.
Justin foresees that one day there will be networks of lifecasters on the web, creating a crazy interconnecting series of video streams. Philosophic implications aside, Justin.tv features a daily blog with occasional articles and schedules for Justin’s daily activities, and a surprisingly functional archive where you can browse through previous days 15 minutes at a time.
According to Wikipedia, on March 23, 2007 someone used Justin’s cell number, which he had published on his site, to make a false police report of a stabbing, leading to this police raid being seen live by hundreds online. There’s also this infamous clip where Justin may or may not be gettin’ lucky. To check out a catalogue of other featured Justin.tv scenes and much more, try this site maintained by various bloggers and fans.