Before I explain why, I’m going to say the company: Shazam.
Now, take a moment to think about why this is a good or crazy idea. Sweet, now I’ll tell you what I think.
Like millions of others, I watch television shows with Twitter open, tweeting about what’s hilarious or ridiculous. This is particularly fun when I’m watching a show as it is broadcast live; it truly (and literally, I suppose) brings a new dimension to television. Unfortunately, I only watch about 5% of my television live. In fact, Netflix is producing new and exciting programs that are never broadcast “live”, which presents a problem, nay, opportunity!
I would like to experience my non-live programs like I experience my live ones. Give me an app that shows me tweets about the program I’m watching from any of my friends AND have them appear in my timeline at the same relative time they were tweeted. In other words, if my friend Karen watched the first episode of Orange is the New Black last week and tweeted about an early scene 6 minutes into the episode, I should see this tweet come up when I am watching the same episode and am 6 minutes in.
And now, the reason Twitter would acquire Shazam. If you don’t know, Shazam can listen to an audio sample and determine the song. Lately, they’ve been using the same technology to help advertisers and television networks show you supplemental material on your phone.
Imagine if the Twitter app listened to the noise around you while you tweeted and determined what, if any, program you were watching (something Shazam can do) and recorded the relative timestamp. Then, if a friend watched the same program hours or months later, they’d be able to enjoy the experience as if it was live. It would just mean opening up the Twitter app and letting it determine what show you’re watching. Then tweets could stream in, seemingly real-time. Pretty awesome, no?
Obviously, there are a host of reasons this would fail. Here are two:
Bootstrapping: It’s going to take a long time for enough of your friends to watch that obscure BBC show you love. Of course, this could be solved by only allowing tags for popular shows or augmenting your friends tweets with popular ones. You could also try and filter these time-shifted tweets into your regular stream.
Technology: You’d need the user to be tweeting from an app and not the web to capture the audio. This would mean more fragmentation, but maybe it’d be another way for Twitter to push users toward their app.
Again, this idea is a little ridiculous and I realize that. Still, I want it to exist very badly. If it got good enough, watching awards shows or sports would be just as exciting on a time-shift as it would be live. It could be truly awesome.