Shortener for video & audio, crowdsourced style; the social media tool we don't have. #bigidea

How may podcasts or videos have you consumed, where you were thinking there were only a few minutes of truly interesting content?  Why do we not have a tool or service which condenses a one-hour piece into those few minutes?

We are collectively wasting an astronomical amount of time, wading through filler, rambling conversations, technical issues and sometimes pure nonsense.  And yet all it would take to solve this, is for a small percentage of content consumers to mark interesting bits of video & audio.  We can crowdsource this, potentially in a service which can span many of the content platforms (Real.Video, DTube, YouTube, SoundCloud, etc.)  The service would allow active participants to mark/tag interesting sections of content (e.g. 4:50..5:35, 8:10..8:48) and enter that meta information into the database along with the URL/identifier for the related content.  Passive participants then use the service to play or download content which is shortened by the clip information in the database, based on their preferences.  Preference possibilities might include, their favorite shorteners or lists of shorteners created by trusted parties, AI, a rating system, most favorited shorteners, domain-specific shorteners and many others.

Compositing / Aggregation

If we have a service to shorten single pieces of content, then we also have the infrastructure needed to aggregate interesting bits of content across content.  How would you like to have a single podcast or video, condensed from only the bits you would find interesting across all channels you follow, as well as some you're not even aware of yet?  No rambling, no idle chit-chat, no nonsense.


One of my favorite related ideas is to supply a "compression factor", like in JPEG images, and have the service output either a singular or composite podcast of a given density (only the bits marked of a given importance or better).  Or similarly, one could specify the desired duration (e.g. 30 minutes), and have the service play or download content of that duration by packing in the most amount of content, prioritized by importance.

Note that hardcore consumers of podcasts tend to listen at accelerated speeds, perhaps double or even triple normal speed.  A service could allow tagging of suggested speeds as well, per section of content.  And then that could be factored into content compression.


As much as they're hated, short ads could be baked into the shortening service.  A great example is Real.Video, which plans to have less than 5 second pre-rolls.  Those are perfect for a content shortening service.  Even for static downloads, different pre-roll ads could be baked in, honoring a given content platform's ad revenue model.


There are many possibilities here.  One way is to seek agreements with content platforms for driving traffic (possibly including shortened ads).  Though I prefer a more voluntary service where both the platform and shorteners offer cryptocurrency addresses for tipping.  I suppose there are also ways to merge the Patreon concept with shorteners, possibly with some premium level of access to the shortening meta info they create.

I hope you enjoyed my #bigidea and are inspired to either work on it or surface your own ideas.  The World needs solutions.