NoTube blog – the future of television is social and semantic

Landscape sketch

Posted in Thinking Out Loud by danbri on November 25, 2009

When we had our first project kickoff meeting for NoTube, back in the spring, I made this list of quick sketches of TV-related characters and scenarios. They’re not very carefully modelled or the formal basis for specific project work, but they do touch on a variety of issues around the collision of ‘Web’ and ‘Television’, and I thought it worth posting them somewhere in public. Don’t read too much into the detail (eg. most of the names are quite English-y, I was aware of this but offline while writing them and stuck for naming inspiration). The basic idea was to sketch something of the present-day environment in which our project exists, and to think about how to get systems interoperating across a changing and varied landscape.

Example 1

  • Alice is a facebook user
  • her friend Bob is on her Facebook buddylist
  • when she watches a TV show about one of their shared interests, Bob gets a notification

Example 2

  • Charlie uses the YouTube site a lot, and often ‘favourites’ funny videos, as well as US politics
  • when he visits and fills out a profile that includes his public YouTube profile, he receives recommendations for comedy and US politics content

Example 3

  • Dave listens to a lot of music via
  • He would like to know when there are concerts by his favourite artists, either at home or when travelling on business (eg. dopplr)

Example 4

  • Eva bookmarks interesting articles every day on or magnol.ia
  • She would like these auto-classified because adding tags is boring
  • and to have work-related video suggestions  when in the office, recreation-related suggestions when watching IPTV at home

Example 5

  • Fred hates TV.  There is never anything on.
  • But he is taking a distance learning course, studying History of Art at weekends.
  • He would like free (CC-licensed) videos for his video iPodophone and to have relevant wikipedia pages automatically when he visits Paris.
  • And he would love to have comments on these from other History of Art students, and to follow their blogs or on Facebook.

Example 6

  • Georgina loves TV, but is too busy to watch a lot except during daily 2h commute by train.
  • She prefers news and current affairs, and to argue about politics with colleagues, friends and family.
  • She spends at least 1/2 hour a day using podcast audio or video content. Most days she re-posts something in her blog, with short (and funny) comments.

Example 7

  • Hannah is a nuclear scientist, a graduate of
  • She secretly wishes she could comment on TV stories and news articles about nuclear issues, and have her comments appear at the top because she knows what she’s talking about.
  • …but feels this is somehow elitist, so does not mention it.

Example 8

  • Ian just wants some background music videos to play while doing the housework.
  • He’d be happy if the computer picked the music for him, mixing stuff he likes with stuff he might like.
  • But if it accidentally plays any Jazz… Ugh! Game over!

Example 9

  • Joyce is a bit uncomfortable with the Internet, of hackers, viruses and chain letters.
  • One time she saw an advert that mentioned the small town she lived in, and some of her hobbies.
  • She didn’t like this.

Example 10

  • Kristian is a family history enthusiast. He built a database of 8 generations of his family, on a popular geneology site.
  • He says he’s no good with computers, but has recently built a map that includes free historical video material of life in the cities his great- grandparents grew up in.
  • He loves showing this to the kids, to remind them of where they came from. He wonders if the Web site will exist in 10 years.

Example 11

  • Luis prefers to sit back and just watch TV “on the TV”, no fancy stuff.
  • When he’s tired, he wishes more of his favourite shows had subtitles in Spanish.
  • His sister mentioned you can “get those on the Internet” but he has no idea where to begin.

Example 12

  • Martina is planning a holiday, is thinking of south-east Asia somewhere, and is looking for TV travel shows online to inspire her to save & plan.
  • She does some Web searches for travel videos, but doesn’t find anything much.
  • She hasn’t really picked a country and wonders what search terms to use.
  • Once she even clicked on an advert.

Example 13

  • Nigel is a sports fan. Well, football fan.
  • If anything is on TV or radio about his favourite team, he wants to be emailed or IM’d, immediately.
  • But if you spoil an unwatched match by telling him the final score, he will be very very upset and angry.

Example 14

  • Olivia is travelling to London for the Olympics.
  • She knows she can watch videos on her phone, and that is kind of cool, but she’d rather have a schedule for events on her phone, and also reminders about highlights to watch on her friend’s giant flat-screen TV

Example 15

  • Pat is convinced that 9/11 was a sinister plot by the illuminati and space-reptiles from Mars.
  • Given any opportunity to comment in online fora, he will share these observations with any audience; the bigger the better. After a few beers he is a bit racist too.
  • He wonders why nobody seems to read the comments he leaves on Facebook, YouTube, BBC etc. videos. Suspects a plot.

Example 16

  • Rachel is a big fan of BlahBlah, a popular sci-fi series.
  • She mentions this in her public Hi5 and profiles.
  • Sometimes when she visits online TV sites and logs in using her Orkut OpenID, she is pleasantly suprised when it recommends similar TV shows without asking.

Example 17

  • Sam loves books, and often writes reviews on; also has a length wishlist.
  • After writing a 5-star review of a great book, she wonders why the Internet can’t
  • remind her when this writer is about to be on TV. Or even at a book signing nearby.
  • She wonders if this might also be a bit creepy, but expects it will happen someday anyhow. Would people who bookmarked her reviews also get notified?

Example 18

  • Tom is pretty open-minded, but worried about what his young kids might find in the huge catalogue of his new IPTV service
  • He doesn’t want to let “a bunch of religious nutters who set the ratings” decide what his kids watch.
  • He thinks out loud “if my friends reckon something is OK for their kids”, it’s probably fine. “…but there are 1000s of shows… Hmm!”

Example 19

  • Uncle Jim filmed a major train accident on his phone just now.
  • He wants to send it on to news agencies, and dreams he will get rich from syndication profits.
  • …but he is happy for it to be re-used non- commercially, and included in Wikipedia. He wants to be emailed if anyone comments on it, or re-publishes it, anywhere.

Example 20

  • V. prefers radio to TV, but uses her laptop for both lately. She never reads listing magazines, and vaguely suspects she is missing out on the good stuff that’s on.
  • She is open to suggestions from friends, about what to watch or listen to.
  • They all use different Web sites for this kind of thing, or only use email. A couple of friends use MySpace obsessively.

Example 21

  • Will is a fictional developer at the BBC
  • He’s been asked to see if comments on pieces of BBC content around the Web can be re-aggregated to provide a unified view
  • But to bear in mind legal and policy issues

Example 22

  • Zelda doesn’t have a TV, phone, video, PC, or Blackberry.  Her radio is broken too.
  • Every week she prints out 7 days TV listings the community at the community centre, and visits a friend when something good is on TV.
  • She would like to save paper and print full info only the things that are interesting to her – movies, soaps, news, but not sport or reality shows.

Example 23

  • Anna is has obsessive knowledge of the popular soap series called Blahblah.
  • She knows 20 years history of the characters, families and plot.
  • She notices some inconsistencies in the Web site for the show, but never got a reply to her email about it.