SocialTV survey – getting a visual overview

Andy asked me to have a look at updating their SocialTV research document – which was a snapshot of the state of the art 6 months ago.

I spent a day trawling the web for recent SocialTV developments. There’s been a rash of them since Andy’s research document was completed – hardly surprising given the trendiness of the area{{1}}.

I started using the del.icio.us{{2}} tag stream for socialtv, and segmented all my links into socialtv + consumer or socialtv + b2b, which seemed like the most useful sub-categories to work on for now, although I also tried to pick up which were primarily social EPGs{{3}}, which offered iOs, or android apps etc.

Then I used del.icio.us’ API to download XML dumps of my tagged, cross referenced links{{4}}, so I could convert them into a format I could visualise and move about.

I chose Freemind as my visualisation/visual editing app, then looked about to find something to convert my XML data to a freemind map. I found Blaine Kendall’s DeliciousMind java app{{5}}, and before long had downloaded my xml dumps and converted them into some pretty, editable pictures of the social TV space.

First attempt at a linkdump from delicious via deliciousmind... confusing

As you can see, the first attempt was a bit overwhelming, but I was impressed that it had automatically picked up all my cross-referenced tags and created sub-branches of all of them, showing overlaps between feature sets. Bonus!

Closing the category nodes, and looking at my sub-categorisations brought up some ideas about how to segment these various apps, businesses, hardware and software platforms and systems – which can be a tricky question given that these ‘social’ media services are all about convergence. It can be hard to tell where one ends and another begins.

After deleting the over-long node names, and shuffling things about, I think I ended up with a pretty decent overview of the major distinctions, pending further research into the detail of each service:

for html link dump see: Â http://saulalbert.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/socialtvconsumer.mm_.html

The outlier in the map – that is also possibly the most important one is the ‘Batman: The Dark Night on Facebook‘ link, which probably has most of the rest of the map quite worried. If Facebook decides to do SocialTV, it has an awful lot of social to work with.

However, I think the top levels I’m working with now are hardware platforms, 2nd screen apps (on various platforms), EPGs, and services that use badges and check-ins, following a kind of foursquare/gowalla type social reward model.

A more interesting and useful segmentation might look at user perceptions, rather than the rather flabby PR speak on people’s websites – which I’ll have to return to after I’ve done some of my observational studies!

Just in case you’re interested, the b2b map was much less exciting – partly because I probably need to look further into it to see who is offering SocialTV white label services, but here’s where I got to anyway. Suggestions for additions gratefully received.

The two maps are here in case you want to play with/add to them.

[[1]]The Social TV panel was packed out at the recent SXSW (having listened to it, I have no idea why).[[1]] [[2]] I still like the old url! [[2]] [[3]] Electronic Programme Guides [[3]] [[4]](eg: https://api.del.icio.us/v1/posts/recent?tag=socialtv+b2b&count=100)[[4]] [[5]] Which seems to have been taken off-line by bandwidth restrictions – so I grabbed it off archive.org and re-uploaded it here for posterity. Thanks Blaine![[5]]

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