Tools for Transparency: Live Streaming to the Web


Live Streaming Video

Photo: jdlasica from Flickr

For many, the “live web” was a meaningless concept until the aftermath of the 2009 Iranian presidential election when protesters used Twitter as a means to push messages past the censors to the web in real-time while grabbing headlines across the globe. When you can learn about an event as it’s actually happening, waiting an entire news cycle for the media to type up the latest makes the information feel about as stale as yesterday’s paper.

Live streaming video takes this instant digest of news to an entirely new level, one that will have a lot of impact on accountability in politics. From town hall meetings to rallies to protests, live video creates a visual record of our elected politicians and allows citizens to participate in events from afar without filtration.

Here at Sunlight we’ve taken live streaming and added further context with Sunlight Live. We’ve covered the recent GOP meeting with business lobbyists, financial reform and the health care debates.  Using Ustream, we’ve added contextual content and data streams and a way for the audience to interact with each other, providing further context to the debate.

Of course if you want to take the initiative and get local, services like Qik, Ustream and Kyte allow you to stream events to the web.  All you need is a smartphone and a clear view.

Live streaming services are becoming more and more accessible to the general public and when used with the right combination of tools can provide for a powerful approach to accountability.