During the Arab Spring, the world learned about the power of mobile phones. Citizen reporters and professional journalists alike used their mobile phones to snap photos and share on social networks, and to upload videos to YouTube.
News organizations are learning how to work with people on the ground, but everyone agrees that this content is invaluable. If you needed extra evidence showing just how important user-generated video has become, take a look at this recent report from the BBC Trust (.PDF download - English).
The report concludes, among other things, that:
"The great new challenge of the 'Arab Spring', as a media phenomenon, has been the explosion of 'user generated content' (UGC) combined with the need to rely on this because direct access to the story is so often denied or impeded."
I'd like to highlight a fantastic application for Android and iPhones that's a real sign of what's to come. The new version of SocialCam, which recently relaunched, is a free video sharing application. Most people like it because of how easily videos can be shared by SMS, email, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.
But one of the really interesting features of SocialCam, though, is that you can edit video, overlay music and create graphics – right from your phone. Take a look at this breaking news story I created in under one minute. I was able to shoot and edit the video, add music and also the graphics all from my phone. (Don't get too excited...the alert had to do with my morning beverage.)
I'd encourage you to experiment with SocialCam, and to see how it might apply to your newsroom. There are lots of similar apps in the works, so expect to see more ways to create and syndicate video from your mobile phone by the end of this year.
Amy Webb is the CEO of Webbmedia Group, an international digital strategy agency that studies disruptive technologies and advises a worldwide client base of Fortune 100 and Global 1000 companies, government agencies, media organizations and foundations. She's the co-founder of SparkCamp and an active startup investor and advisor. Her new book, "Data: A Love Story" will be published by Penguin and available everywhere January 31. Any opinions expressed about products or services are formed after testing, research and interviews. Neither Amy Webb nor Webbmedia Group or its employees receives any financial or other benefits from vendors.