IPhone apps can offer political power

May 4, 2010

You have a few days left before you cast your vote for your chosen parliamentary candidate. You may have been watching the recent TV debates as a passive spectator but did you know that by using your iPhone or smartphone during the debates (as thousands were at the rate of 34 tweets per second!), offered you a channel for discussion during live TV commentaries?

Twitter adds a new dimension to TV events as watching TV and tweeting is like listening to the director’s commentary on a DVD – except it can be more fun. It can turn a solitary experience of TV watching into a communal activity. During the second debate iPhones were used to vote on Facebook for the most impressive candidate -Nick Clegg gained most of your votes on that occasion.

Social TV networking is a great way to be heard and can offer you participation and power -described as “co-viewing” by Kevin Slavin who has designed and released  software called Starling. Starling is designed to run on mobile phones as well as computers and enables users to find out about shows in a more structured way than is currently offered by Facebook or Twitter. Viewers with the Starling app will be able to rate shows; the software sifts through the most popular messages  to select the most interesting comments and will immediately display them, tickertape-style at the bottom of your screen. For example, if enough viewers request more close-ups in the programme, it can take immediate effect. The Starling app is not launched until later this year but iPhone have a free app available now called Miso.

Miso is aimed at encouraging interaction among TV viewers and asks viewers to check into shows and post comments on the show via Twitter or Facebook. Shows such as Britain’s Got Talent use this app. The free iPhone Miso includes a geolocation function, so if you are watching in a public venue, friends can join you in realtime! Social media could be part of everything a TV network does in 5 to 10 years.

For today, our politicians are desperate to abolish the passive apathy of the voting public. Live TV debates before our future general elections could see us reaching for our iPhones – no need to treck to the polling booth – cast your vote straight after the debate!

Learn  more about iPhone apps by clicking on the links RHS of this item.


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