I had never heard of Josh Harris until I recently watched the documentary We Live in Public, and I haven’t been able to shake him since. Josh Harris, a dot-com entrepreneur, was too early for his time. Too early for reality TV, too early for video chat, but yet he predicted all of it in the late 90s.
Having lost almost all his fortune, he moved to Ethiopia and now he’s back pushing his idea of a new type of social network, one where we are all creating our own programming from the luxury of our home. Instead of the more static photos and typed status updates, imagine saying your social posts to a camera and showing them live. There may be the shave cam sponsored by Gillette for example, the Hungry Man cam showing people eating, and so on.
This idea both scares me and excites me. Partly because Josh had a nervous breakdown during his trial run of living in public where he wired his Manhattan studio with cameras, and partly because it would revolutionize advertising. Advertisers would reach people at relevant times and actually showcase people using their products.
In a time period where it seems like many movies and TV shows are reworked content from the past – just watched Clash of the Titans remake and found out the new TV show Outsourced was a movie a few years ago – it seems the only original content we have comes from reality.
So will you log on to Josh Harris’ Wired City and start broadcasting from the comfort of your own couch? Or will Josh be packing his bags and running from creditors again because he was a smidge too early on this one? As I stare at the video chat on my iPhone and the built-in camera in my laptop I’m not too sure where this will head.