I’m often amazed about the “real world”. Naaman would say here that I have yet to experience it but my case in point is I got cable tv. I haven’t had cable tv…well. Ever. With the exception of couch surfing at my friend’s places. Comcast in SF gives you some unreal number of channels…most of which require an additional fee – and with the exception of Anthony Bourdain and Alton Brown (on Travel HD and Food HD)…ok and Top Chef on Bravo. I really don’t need cable tv. So I’ve thought about canceling it after the 1.5 months I’ve had it. What’s curious here is, I’ve lost my old pattern. I used to just go to a friends place and watch my stories there. Or better yet, one friend of mine always wants to show me her favorite new show on SpikeTV. TV just isn’t fun by yourself. Now I find myself IMing my friends to see if one of them is watching a show…so I might chat and watch.
While this has been the recent subject of much research and discussion, I want to talk politics for a moment. Throughout the debates, CurrentTV ran a ‘hack the debate’ program.
Basically, while you watched the presidential debates, they would show Tweets from Twitter’s public timeline marked with the tag #CURRENT. This was an amazing feat indeed. Why? They not only did it on the web—they did it on their cable tv channel! While this may seem like just some technical wiring, there is more here. CurrentTV was using Twitter as a filter for op-ed content which (one could only assume) was filtered by their editors in real time. This is an example of not just ‘send your photo to us and we will put it on the air’. Rather, the production of the entire show revolved around the success and the compelling nature of people and how they tweet. Unfortunately, for me and TV, I don’t care what other people think. I care about what my friends think.
Enter CNN. Together with Facebook, they made an app which is dead simple. In 2006, I was on faculty at the Medill School of Journalism where I was teaching News and New Media. I recall demoing Facebook to the class and explaining this was going to be the future of aggregation, but that’s another post. Moving on, show me the TV and what my friends status updates are!
And now, I get to see what my friends are saying. Plus, I can individually respond to each status message. This creates a mini conversation. Sweet indeed. I watched the inauguration with all my friends at the same time. There was some debate (amongst my Facebook friends) if this was really a conversation. Ustream had a nifty stream and chat room (which you could interact with from your iPhone even) – but the chat room is a different thing. Its continuous. Not episodic. Me, I liked the status messages and short conversations. Not as telegraphic as twitter, not so committal as a chat room.
Course this brings me back to my TV. WGNTV in Chicago published my watching of the event (in a piece edited by a former student of mine from Medill). I saw her update her Facebook status asking if you have an iPhone and are watching the inauguration, send a photo.
Two streams. One conversation. It was sweet indeed. More so, the lull of silence during the inauguration address really did add to the experience from the sofa. Even if it was in the form of a visual mute. Hey readers, how did you watch the inauguration?