Time Shifting the Water Cooler

DVR, Netflix, Hulu and the world of content shifting applications and services is huge.

We have seen a massive change in the behavior of media consumption thanks to these services. Pair that with the surge of the social web in the last few years and you have a recipe for a revolution. Ok, hyperbole aside, there are definitely some massive changes in how we consume and converse about things that we are watching currently under way.

Think about the Seinfeld era. Seinfeld, a real water-cooler show, was watched on Thursday nights and then the jokes about nothing were recapped with friends, co-workers and strangers the next day. Everyone had to be there to watch the show when it aired unless they went through the hassle of figuring out how to set the clock on their VCR, finding a blank tape and then figuring out the magic that is scheduling a recording. This made talking about the show easy and almost as scheduled as the broadcast of the show. Now, let’s come back to today. Shows have initial broadcast dates and times but technology has allowed us to effortlessly set the shows to our schedule rather than set our schedule to shows. This is great, no doubt, but it has done something to the conversation. The thing that adds a layer of awesomesauce to the media we consume. We have all the tools to talk about shows, movies and sporting events, but none of the features to make sure that we are talking about it at the same time or more importantly the right time. The right time for me is more than likely not the right time for you as our schedules will vary greatly. I don’t want to ruin True Blood for you and you don’t want to ruin Whitney for you. So what are people doing about this? What do we do?

We can start with intelligent set-top boxes that talk to intelligent apps. Verizon and other providers have boxes that can communicate with iPads, iPhones and Androids. Let’s get them talking about what I’m watching so that the app can show what my friends have said about the show only after I have watched it or started watching it. Let’s have them notify my friends and me when we have both watched a show so we can meet around the now digital water cooler (or heck, maybe we can meet in real life, social networking 1.0). We have the technology, we have the content, now let’s just get it going. I mean, seriously, what’s the deal with not having this already. Thanks, Jerry.