#Waywire (the hashtag is part of the name) is a new specialized social media platform for sharing and monitoring video. It's designed to enable users to create a stream like Twitter or Facebook, in which they can upload video, share video found elsewhere, subscribe to curated streams, and so forth. Founder Cory Booker, also the mayor of Newark, NJ, describes it as a way to democratize news, or as he puts it, "The power of the people is more important than the people in power."
In #waywire, you have a Pinterest-like board to which you can save footage from professional content partners like Reuters as well as clips captured by people on the scene via smartphones, say. You can select from directories that have been curated by editorial review, view by tags, see selections of trending video from other sites, and use #waywire's proprietary search algorithms to find relevant clips. In this way, you can create reports on breaking news or longer-term topics and share them with your friends or other subscribers. You can also link your #waywire boards with other social media platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn. Features planned for the future include the ability to edit clips on the fly, allowing users to create original video stories and mashups, and more direct linkage with other online video services that will allow users to post response video directly, for example.
On first look, #waywire's interface is a little opaque. I wasn't exactly sure what to do first, but I used a long-trusted rule of thumb: when in doubt, use the search box. A little experimental clicking, and I was setting up feeds, following suggested wires, and generally enjoying myself. I think it will take a little time to really understand how #waywire can interact and mesh with other social media platforms, but I think that will be its real strength, and certainly what the team envisions for the site.
Overall, I'm quite impressed. I think this could have great potential for a lot of uses that are much more organized than other major players in the video social media field. I think a lot of people will find it interesting to curate collections of video in the manner of Pinterest that they can share. More seriously, if a broad base of users embraces #waywire's potential as a grassroots news tool and activism platform, it could be an important game-changer in the world of news, breaking control of established and monolithic news sources and enabling lots of people to make an end-run around them to tell important stories to a wide audience. I think recent events, especially the role of media in the recent presidential election, have shown that we're long overdue for reform in news and information dissemination, and #waywire has real potential to be a change agent. I'll be watching its progress with considerable interest.