I’ve been helping out as the ‘chief engineer’ at Speechification for a while, and I’m now proud to be joining Russell and Steve in making Watchification happen too.

The aim of the project is reassuringly simple: in the same way that Speechification curates speech radio from around the world, we want to make it easy for people to find the best bits of TV, both old and new. The iPlayer is great, but there’s so much there. Where do you start? Isn’t it nice when friends suggest stuff you might enjoy? Since word-of-mouth is how I discover all of the television I watch, it’s something I appreciate greatly. So we’re trying to do that. Expect it to grow and change as we get used to doing it, and learn what works. We may have some design improvements coming soon, but more on that later.

With my ‘chief engineer’ hat on, I knocked up a nifty little WordPress hack over the weekend, using the Custom Fields GUI plugin as a starting point. I make it easy for contributors to paste a unique ID from iPlayer or YouTube (or Google Video…) which is then extracted so the blog can automatically build the appropriate embed code for iPlayer, YouTube or Google Video, depending on the video source. Realistically, it’s only a little bit easier than copying and pasting an embed code, but capturing the URL (and the editor, the producer, etc) in metadata allows us to have more fun with the data later too. Here’s what it looks like…

If you’re interested enough in television to want to share your favourite bits of it with the world and would like to become a contributor yourself, let me know (roo at rooreynolds dot com).

3 replies on “Watchification”

  1. The way I want to share the interesting videos I’ve found is not via a blog though, it’s much more like delicious, or a straightforward rss feed of every stream I watch. Greasemonkey, or a plugin to do the work would be the best.

  2. Well, I should have pointed out that the Watchification sidebar shows every bookmark in which is tagged with ‘watchification’ (just as all ‘speechification’ bookmarks show up in Speechification). This seems to be a sensible way of making it really easy for people to share things in a way that makes sense to them, just by tagging them.

    At the moment they’re just shown as text links, but if that mechanism takes off (and if it makes sense) it would be easy to auto-generate full video embeds for each bookmarked page that looks like a video.

    For now, the idea is that people click on the sidebar links anyway, and one of the authors will eventually notice the good stuff and use it as a source. I’ve given Nick attribution on Speechification for a post I made inspired by one of his bookmarks.

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