Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Twitter Wants to Know What You Watched on TV Last Night, So It’s Asking You What You Watched on TV Last Night

willy wonka tvTwitter has very big plans for TV — for starters, it would like to become a digital TV Guide.

And one of the cool things about watching a company grow up on the Internet is that you can track a lot of its planning in public. Yesterday, for instance, Twitter polled some of its users about what they watched on TV the night before, and what they did while they were watching.

One of the survey members was my colleague Jason Del Rey, who alertly took screenshots. So now you, too, can see what it’s like when Twitter asks you about your prime-time viewing habits. (Thanks to TechTarget‘s Jeremy Stanley for initially flagging it for me). Ready?

Twitter survey 1

Twitter survey 2

Twitter survey 3

Twitter survey 4

Twitter survey 6

Twitter survey 7

Twitter survey 8

Twitter survey 9

Twitter survey 10

A few thoughts:

  • It may be coincidental, but we should point out that “SeeIt,” the program that Comcast worked up with Twitter that is supposed to turn Twitter into a TV remote/TV viewing platform, just launched.
  • But Twitter isn’t restricting the survey to Comcast users (at least not intentionally): Jason uses Verizon to watch TV.
  • Note that Twitter is only trying to reach people who watch a lot of TV: If you didn’t watch at least half of one of the programs Twitter is asking about, while it was airing, it doesn’t want to talk to you.
  • Twitter thinks it would be great if you were using Twitter while you watched TV. But it’s acutely aware that it is competing for your time with many, many apps. For starters: Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Gchat, WhatsApp, Snapchat, texting and email. Just as important for the TV business: It is competing for your attention with all of those apps, too.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work