The term “Social TV”, generally refers to apps such as GetGlue, Raptr, and IntoNow. These apps allow users to utilize their already established Twitter and Facebook accounts while consuming various forms of media. Users are not only able to “check in” while watching their favorite shows or listening to music, but they are also able to rate and discuss the experiences with fellow users. Also, much like Microsoft’s newly announced SmartGlass technology, these apps are beginning to offer users more interactivity with media via their smartphones and tablets; enabling viewers to read character biographies and additional episode information while watching TV shows, for example. While “Social TV” currently incorporates regular forms of media into social media, Stevie is looking to do the opposite.
Who is Stevie, you ask? Well it’s actually more of a “what” than a “who”. Chief Creative Technologist and Co-founder of the Israel-based startup company, Gil Rimon, introduced Stevie at a VideoTLV meetup in Tel Aviv this past February. Instead of creating another app that appears in social media feeds, Stevie is a service that takes an individual’s Twitter and Facebook feed and literally turns them into television programming. The “show” is then divided into multiple segments such as Top Stories (which broadcasts news posted on a user’s feed), Comedy Strip (which gathers funny videos and links posted by friends, as well as trending videos, and tweets from various comedians), CelebTV for all celebrity related news, and a music segment titled Music Non-Stop.
Stevie is a free web-based app and can therefore be viewed on any computer or internet-connected television. Applications for the service are also available on iOs, Android, and Windows 8 systems. Although Stevie does allow users to watch their social media feeds like a television show, the experience remains interactive. Users are able to skip, rewind, pause, like, and share content.
“Stevie turns your Facebook feed into a beautiful broadcast experience,” says Rimon. “Our mission is to redefine the way we watch online video and to introduce the true meaning of Social TV as we see it.”
To find out what Stevie was all about, I decided to check it out for myself. After signing up for the app (a process that literally took seconds as it only requires a few clicks allowing Stevie access to one’s Facebook and Twitter accounts) I was experiencing Stevie firsthand on my netbook. While I admittedly entered into the experience as a skeptic, I found myself immediately entertained. While videos and music clips played in the center of the screen, recently written posts and pictures simultaneously scrolled along the bottom and right side of the image. Despite sounding like information overload, the layout seems natural and feels like a completely personalized MSNBC.
As someone who often skips over media links on Twitter and Facebook out of sheer laziness, I found Stevie to be convenient; playing the clips automatically, allowing me to interact only whenever I saw fit.
The only problems I ran into were when the program froze up as I attempted to skip a slideshow of uninteresting photos posted by a friend on Facebook. After waiting a few minutes with no change, a quick click of the refresh button put everything back in order. Also, I must confess that I found myself skipping nearly all celebrity based content that wasn’t directly from my social media friends, but that was simply personal preference. Finally, for those like myself who need constant validation and praise for their own witty musings, I was sad to find no way to actually post, or view notifications regarding my own posts.
To anyone who checks their Twitter and Facebook multiple times daily, Stevie is worth a look. Although you will have to go to your regular social media sites to post content, viewing gathered content via Stevie is a highly-personalized and entertaining experience. Decide for yourself if it’s the future of “Social TV” at www.mystevie.com.