Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Last Night’s VMAs, Now on Twitter and YouTube

Big live events like sports and award shows are supposed to be TV’s antidote to eyeball-shrinking technology like DVRs and Web video. If you want to enjoy the next day’s watercooler banter, the theory goes, you have to watch them live.

But I find that it’s easier than ever to be fully informed about What Was On The Teevee Last Night without ever turning on the set. Twitter, in particular, is good/bad about this — even if I have no interest in, say, last night’s MTV Video Music Awards, my feed makes sure I’ve got all the relevant info.

In case your Twitterfeed doesn’t look like mine, there were two big take-aways:

A) Beyonce looks pregnant and is encouraging everyone to believe that this is the case.

B) Adele, the only person in the world who is selling lots of recorded music these days, gave the night’s best performance.

Obligatory digital media business notes:

  • The part where Twitter gives me the ability to learn about stuff that happened 12 hours ago is a little different from Twitter’s current pitch to TV programmers and advertisers. Dick Costolo and company like to argue that Twitter makes live TV more essential. The two ideas aren’t mutually exclusive — it’s possible that Twitter actually does boost live TV ratings at the same time it makes catch-up easier — but since there’s a lot less money in the catch-up business than in the live TV business (see: Hulu) you won’t hear much about that.
  • Easy to forget, but true — MTV parent Viacom is still suing Google and YouTube. Which means that the clip I provided above should be hard to find, at the very least. But this one popped up as the second result under “Adele” on YouTube this morning.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik