Social TV: The Bigger Picture

Tony Hirst has just written a really interesting blog post on the Social Telly: The Near Future Evolution of TV User Interfaces.

Tony explains “a prototype demoed last year by the BBC and Microsoft shows how it might be possible to “share” content you are viewing with someone in your contact list, identify news stories according to location (as identified on a regional or world map), or compile your own custom way through a news story by selecting from a set of recommended packages related to a particular news piece.

He gives a lot of interesting examples of innovation in this area.

In fact there are quite a few related posts out there at the moment including:

This post hit home with me for two reasons:

Firstly, because my parents have recently bought a 42″ TV (hey, they’re old and retired and need a focus for their living room!) and passed on their big-but-not-quite-so-big TV to us. At first I was really reluctant to put this monstrosity in our relatively small room. Unfortunately while we were in the process of “trying it out” our children caught us and demanded that we keep it if we want to remain their parents. It was a fait accompli.

Secondly, because it suddenly reminded me of the whole “Internet through your television” thing that happened a few years back. It’s just brought a smile to my face remembering my colleague Brian Kelly’s enthusiasm. Those who know Brian will know that he is often to be seen at the starting line when it comes to new technologies!

Well it seems he was sort of right after all, Internet TV is back (The Wall Street Journal article ‘Internet-Ready TVs Usher Web Into Living Room‘ provides a good background read) so watch this space.

I for one will welcome the excuse to get out of my spare-bedroom-office and make the long trip downstairs to the lounge. The exercise is much needed, and the screen is bigger down there too!


Seasons Tweetings

I previously mentioned on Ramblings.. that despite having a go I was Still Not Getting Twitter.

I have to admit to being surprised at the response. Friends, colleagues and blog readers who use Twitter (successfully) really went out of their way to convince me (both online and off) that it’s worth investing time in.

Most people told me why they used it and what they got out of it:

I have a very concentrated almost live-news summary of what’s happening in the various sectors I’m involved in a way of listening in on other people’s streams-of-consciousness

I really like the feeling of community chat: seeing people I know sending @messages to other people I know is somehow very satisfying and somehow reinforces my online social network..

(From blog comments)

Fewer people answered my concerns about not having enough to say, the time to update or read messages.

That said I have had a few tools tipped in my direction that could possibly help, so for those not so in the know here they are.

Updating Messages



A very simple way to send the RSS feed of your blog to Twitter. This means I send a tweet every few days without even having to think about it!

Facebook Twitter Application

This allows you to update Facebook from Twitter. I can’t work out how to do it the other way round though without having programming skills and your own server (if anyone knows let me know). As my colleague Paul Walk put it “it’s almost as though Facebook is a bit of a walled garden….”. I take it this is why developers aren’t so keen on Facebook. Twitter on the other hand is king of the APIs!

Reading Messages


TweetDeck is an Adobe Air desktop application that allows you to organise your tweets. You can sort them, group them and even search live tweet information.

A great way to filter out what is useful and relevant to you.

My colleague Brian Kelly has just written a blog post exploring the usefulness of Tweetdeck to our current project work.

A few other Twitter tools I’ve stumbled on include

  • Twist: tracks trend in terms used
  • Tweetscan: a Twitter search engine
  • I’ve also recently started using Yammer, which is an enterprise version of Twitter, for keeping track of what I’m working on.

It seems there is no escaping the tweeting….

A Word about Wordle?

At the moment I’m really into Wordle. This is a great bit of application that lets you create tag clouds of words, you can use chunks of text or put in the URL of a Web site. The images created are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license so you can use them anyway you want.

I’ve just written an article on technologies for remote working. It should be in the next Ariadne. Here’s what you get if you drop the contents in.

Have a go – it’s a great way to see what the key words are.

The Art of Conversation

At the Interent Librarian International conference last week I went to a presentation by Michael Stephens (Dominican University) and Michael Casey (Gwinnett Public Library) on 12 steps to a Transparent Library – based on their Transparent Library blog.

These guys speak a lot of sense.

At one point they showed an image created by Brian Solis, principal of Future works, a PR company in Silicon Valley. He writes a blog called PR 2.0. The image was called The Conversation Prism.

It is also available from Flickr with links added.

The conversation map is a living, breathing representation of Social Media and will evolve as services and conversation channels emerge, fuse, and dissipate.

If a conversation takes place online and you’re not there to hear or see it, did it actually happen?

Indeed. Conversations are taking place with or without you and this map will help you visualize the potential extent and pervasiveness of the online conversations that can impact and influence your business and brand.

The links given could keep you going for a month of Sundays! It makes you realise how quickly communication mechanisms are changing.

This weekend we set up our first Skype/video chat with the in-laws. The kids (aged 6, 4 and 1) loved it and didn’t seem to think that there was anything strange or ‘space age’ about chatting to Grandma and Grandpa through the computer. My daughter’s only concern was how whether they would get bored sat in front of the PC waiting for our next call! I reassured her that as soon as we signed off they’d get back to their gardening and pottering…and the other stuff retired people tend to do in the breaks between using social networking tools and researching their family tree on the Web!