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I haven't been writing much lately, there have been things itching and gnawing in my mind in relation to Social TV which forced me to retreat, think over and read a lot from others to understand the general consensus on this topic and where we're heading to.
After having read "The Paradox of Social Media: The More Social it Gets, The Less Social We Become" at MediaPost, thinking back to writings about the Tao and what Miso's CEO Niyogi mentioned on Social TV, I give it a shot. Is there a scope/focus that needs to be adjusted? This also relates back to the analysis of the state of Social TV, about managing and acting on expectations, trying to figure out on what aspects actions needs to be taken upon, realizing expectations.
Let's elaborate on the three first. The article is interesting where the the digital and real world are compared, digital neutralizing the real world and having a spending more time on contextual experiences instead of the direct and primary experience.
With regard to the Tao, having spent lots of time and books in topics like these, I came across a recurring observation, which is still vivid to me in relation to one of the Tao writings explaining that it's hard to keep focus on the primary subject, dwelling into so many other thoughts, not being able to really enjoy and absorb the direct experience. My primary example is photography, being absorb by taking great pictures, but not fully enjoying the direct experience of actually being there... It happened often to me that I was so busy shooting megabytes of pictures, I needed to rebalance in order to enjoy magnificant surroundings without anything extra. Just as mentioned in the MediaPost article, check-ins, Facebook and Twitter have the same distracting force of the actual surroundings, not being (fully) immersive.
MediaPost also refers to multitasking and being a myth, researched by Stanford:
Humans were built to be social, but I'm not sure we were designed for social media. For one thing, research has proven that multitasking is a myth. We can't do it. Our kids can't do it. Nobody can do it. Much as we think we're keeping all our digital balls in the air, eyes darting back and forth from screen to screen, it's all a self-perpetuated ruse. Attention was designed to work with a single focus. You can switch it from target to target, but you can't split it. If you try, you'll just end up doing everything poorly.
What foursquare check-ins, FB updates, Twitter can trigger is stress, always having in mind to deploy a digital action. Again this takes away focus from the direct and actual experience.
Brings us to a quote by Miso's CEO Niyogi, which said the following:
Interesting that Niyogi is singing another tune this week, getting back behind the check-in app, as he noted to Wired magazine in the UK recently that despite Miso being basically a Four Square knockoff for TV:
“No one has figured it out in this space,” Niyogi says. “The check-in is not it.”
Foursquare has some traction, but it will never reach Twitter or Facebook proportions. Nor will a TV Check-in App. I think more advanced game mechanics in the area of challenges, competitions and very deep and full integration with Twitter and Facebook is part of the area that 'needs to be figured out'. As well as recommending - a real recommendation engine - or strategy that works and easily allows the audience to share. Social TV is the EPG of the future in many ways. And that's what needs to be tapped into and figured out.
This is in line with Endemol's CEO Ynon Kreiz, saying:
"Whoever figures it (ed. social media meeting television) out, will be the next Steve Jobs of this generation."
The dimension Space is important for Social TV, there's a difference in people within the same living room and having a comunal experience, or having an experience via check-ins, updates (regarding to the content):
Secondly, we're built to communicate with the person in front of our nose. We pick up the vast majority of a conversation through body language and visual cues. Try as technology might, there's just no way a virtual experience can match the bandwidth or depth of engagement you'll find in a real face-to-face conversation. Yet, we continually pass up the opportunity to have these, opting instead to stare at a little screen and text our thumbs off.
Relation is realisation of Attention
The relationship between people/objects/real world and digital/contextual experience is key to understand where Social TV is a paradox and where it's part of the immersive experience, not distracting but absorbing. Checking into a TV show to inform your network what you're doing is distracting, not adding any value to the TV show itself, adding stress by having to undertake actions.
"We think that social media meets television is the next big thing," he said. "The ability to create content that will enable people to interface with each other, to connect, to recommend, to share and experience over television, is going to change the landscape of the industry."
The only direct relation between content and social is the actual experience. Interfacing, connecting, recommending and sharing are contextual actions, distracting, are they adding really something to it?
Attention comes forth out of the correct relation. Distraction diminishing attention.
Attention is key, attention is revenue.Is there even a Steve Jobs for Social TV?
At this point of time, at this stage of research and understanding behaviors, markets and developments, I say: No.
Referring back to Kreiz's quote, I think it's easier, Steve Jobs can be cloned: it's all about formats and co-creation. It's the ultimate intertwining of creative, technology and co-creation. There's no single tech solving it, no single platform solving it because it's just one side of the coin.
Formats incorporating co-creation are direct, are immersive and non-distracting and are components that truely create immersive and unique experiences. The format and its attached technology is unique, the co-creation part is making it even more unique. Different sets of audiences create and add unique value to the experience and format.
TV ìs social
The TV experience is -often- already a social experience, the digital world has created a new platform being able to actually suck the spectators into the format, co-create and comunally enjoy the experience. There are many opportunities for content producers and broadcasters to be Social Entertainment frontrunners. Social co-created entertainment means attention, focus which generates loyalty, ambassorships and increasing revenue streams. We work with two technologies that add value in the format, not being contextual Social TV techs, that built platforms upon which unique content/format and co-creation can be build around (or vice versa of course):
* ExMachina is hot as you could see by the demo (http://vimeo.com/16881308). Working on the
Voice of Holland which was just bought by NBCU... and they come out of
gaming, which brings a whole other element to the experience. Also backend is
built for broadcasters - complete with trigger system and full control over second screen experience.
* Online campaign to find new teen presenter for Dutch Fashion TV show for SBS TV - http://www.talentscene.nl/ from www.TalentsMedia.com - where the community can choose to be part of the jury or the competition. Great for pre-selection for any kind of talent challenge on TV. And it's gone viral in Holland.
Is there a paradox or not?
There isn't a paradox and there isn't a paradox in social media either. It's a matter of correct application of social media technologies, platforms etc in relation to the direct content. It's a matter of re-establishing focus and scope.
Contextual techs that require action, yes, these sustain the paradox, these distract. There are contextual technologies that don't require action, but interact with the content on an automated level. These add value to the experience, being able to keep focusing on it and have a broader relevant scope.
We're back at the beginning of this article, after the thought pondering and writing, still there are aspects itching and gnawing in my mind, but that's part of enhancement and evolution.
What do you think, is Social TV a matter of media co-production at its core?