Everyone has been checking into locations via Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places. Lately, you may have seen a new type of check in on your Facebook or Twitter feed. People are announcing what they are watching on TV
There seem to be three major players in this category of check in - GetGlue and Miso. I first heard about GetGlue and gave it a shot. After a few uses I realized that just checking into everything I was watching required more discipline than I was willing to put in to tell the world about it. With Foursquare for example, the GPS tells you where you’re at. With GetGlue, my phone or laptop did not know what I was watching so I had to search for it. Also, I could claim I was watching anything at all, even if I wasn’t. Philo on the other hand, polled me about my location and TV provider to enable a channel lineup with currently playing shows. I like the relevancy there.
When I check into locations using Facebook Places, it’s usually because I’m in Facebook anyway so it is a natural progression to complete that task. What would remind me to check into a TV show? I had all but dismissed this new service. A friend started to use Miso, which I had heard about but wasn’t any more interested in it than GetGlue. I checked it out anyway, just in case I was missing something. It was the same. The only difference was that Miso was focused on TV unlike GetGlue that lets me check into the Show, the soundtrack, the cast individually and any other product or person associated with the show. Miso was at least very streamlined.
I wanted to know why these products were cool so I crowdsourced some answers on Twitter. The first to reply was @GoMiso. I figured I’d give the company a chance to defend itself and asked to speak with someone. @MisoSupport responded promptly with an email address. I sent an email out on a Friday evening explaining that I wanted to post a column explaining why this part of social media was fun. Within an hour I got a response back from their CEO. We exchanged a few emails and set up a Skype call for the next morning.
We spoke for nearly an hour and I have to tell you, I didn’t find out why it is cool. The answer I did get was better. I was told how it can be cool in the future. We spoke of innovation; a sector of social media in its infancy; of being first to explore a new space. That news made me happy.
When Foursquare launched, you could check in. Everyone said, “So what? Why?” and the answer was, “So you can tell people where you are.” “But what does it do?” “It lets your friends know about the places you go.” “And what purpose does that serve?” “To be social.” And around and around it went.
When I spoke to Somrat Niyogi, the CEO of Miso, he spoke of Miso’s focus on TV and where it can go. He told me, more than once, that the check in is not the point. That is just the beginning. So if that is the beginning, where does he see it going? The honest answer is that he doesn’t know. He doesn’t think anyone in this space really does, but he has some ideas.
Here are some basic thoughts on what the future may hold:
- Integration with Internet-connectable TVs providing automated (or streamlined) check ins based on what you’re watching.
- Information provided about the show you’re watching (a la VH1 Pop Up video perhaps?)
- Further information about topics. Think about watching the 6:00 news and a disease is discussed. If you are checked in, then you can have an option to be taken directly there.
With smartphones, tablets and notebooks within arms reach while watching TV, we find the living room is becoming smarter. People often use their phone while watching TV. I have had a movie on HBO on my TV, a Jets game on my laptop, FaceTime call on my iPhone and glancing at my iPad for new tweets. That’s real use of the 2nd screen concept. That is becoming more and more common. The team at Miso feels very strongly about the habit of using a 2nd screen to share information about current TV watching activities.
My biggest question revolved around having a user adopt the practice of checking in when the user is not living inside of a large ecosystem like Facebook. Somrat is confident that the integration of the 2nd screen in everyone’s lives, the additional content provided via Miso and their focus on TV (as opposed to the fragmentation of GetGlue and its ability to check into anything media related - my words, not his) will make Miso a part of the TV watching experience.
Can the Miso team make this second nature and expand the popularity of this portion of the social space? They have as good a chance as anyone, if not better. I haven’t spoken to the folks at GetGlue and don’t know their future plans or ideas. I’d say this is an untapped portion of the social space that is waiting for an ecosystem to be built around it. The framework is in place. The interest is there. Now let’s see what the Miso team can do to engage us and keep us using it. Since my conversation with Somrat, I’ve been much more conscious about checking in and I am excited to see what’s next.
More importantly, I’m waiting to see the evolution of this space across all providers. Is there room for more than one or will the first to innovate and grow dominate the space and be the Facebook of TV? What features do people want? What will make users adopt this process into their daily lives. There are questions that will be answered as this space gets explored. If there is one thing that is for sure, it is that the social media movement is driving us toward total sharing and transparency.
So, what are you watching?