Friday, May 13, 2011

How important is Twitter? Why am I glad David Simon doesn’t indulge?

When Betaworks’ John Borthwick mentioned on the latest Gillmor Gang an analysis of the speculation surrounding Obama’s Bin Laden takeout announcement before the late night speech last Sunday, I had to look it up.

Check it out. There’s an underlying pitch in it for SocialFlow, a Betaworks company, but that is OK with me since it is a subtle pitch and it tells a tale you won’t hear elsewhere about social media reputation and how news takes shape online. It swirls around in little eddies that gather force and sometimes whoosh into the Main Stream.

Crazy how important Twitter has become in the news system, isn’t it?

It is becoming important for everything, not just news, though some voices are still absent. Funny, I will rail all day against curmudgeons who diss Twitter, but I’ll make a confession: I am glad I don’t see David Simon pimping each episode of his show in my stream. But maybe he would not use Twitter in that way; I’d like to think so.

What does my pleasure in Simon’s abstinence say about Twitter? Maybe that even people like me, a four-year user of the service, still find it vaguely trivial on the whole, increasingly promotional, self-centered. Yeah, it’s pretty much a mirror of the culture, and I suppose that is its value.

Posted by amyloo on 05/13 at 02:16 AM

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Sunday, May 08, 2011

HBO Go. I miss DVD commentaries but not DVDs. More innovation needed in web/TV convergence.

I’m enjoying HBO Go on the iPad.

As a huge fan of several HBO original series, which are eminently rewatchable, I like having access to the complete archives of favorite shows. Comcast’s OnDemand chooses for me—only letting me at selected episodes of selected series, while HBO Go allows me to dip into whichever season of The Wire I might be in the mood for.

I’ve so fully embraced the whole streaming thing that I rarely watch DVDs anymore, and recently switched to the streaming-only plan on Netflix. I’ll choose to watch something that can be seen instantly and without the physical encumbrance of a DVD. In fact, I’ve developed an active avoidance of DVDs. I can’t quite account for this odd behavior when it means I miss watching things I know I would like, but DVDs have become almost distasteful to me.

There’s one thing I miss: listening to audio commentary tracks, and the studios will have to do something about that. It doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to provide a commentary version of selected online videos, and while they’re at it, I’ll take an MP3 of the audio for my commute, please. (I might even pay, a little.) With well-loved movies and shows, I already know what’s on the screen. I can see it in my head. And so often the commentary doesn’t necessarily map to the action anyway.

iTunes helped kill innovation in podcasting

In the early days of podcasting we saw some experimentation with amateur commentaries to videos, and I think Battlestar Gallactica even produced an official audio commentary podcast. But podcasting has settled into a rut just generally. There hasn’t been a lot of innovation in recent years. I blame iTunes’ dominance as a podcatcher, which meant iTunes became podcasting’s Billboard top 100 ranking and a main discovery method, which led to elevating the MSM podcasts, and possibly caused amateur efforts to ape old media style and production conventions.

With the rapid convergence of TV and the web there are opportunities to get creative—with show formats, not just technology. Alternate sound tracks wouldn’t just have to be recorded, either; they could be live. I’ve always thought, for example, that sports fans (guys mostly) might like to hear opinionated, partisan play-by-play sprinkled with obscenities. You know, the way guys talk when they’re watching games together. Especially when they are angry at a coach. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Also, there are a ton of podcasts about TV shows. They could mix it up a little, break from their predictable formats and offer commentary tracks, maybe just on occasion, like for season finales.


Posted by amyloo on 05/08 at 05:15 AM

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