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Interactive congolmerate CBS has announced the launch of “social viewing rooms” today. These rooms combine videos (from CBS) plus chat and polls. So basically if you remember IRC and slap a video window on the side, you have this new concept from CBS. The idea is smart, the longer people remain within the CBS framework, the more ads they can serve up and generate more interaction with their users.
The social media rooms would have more appeal if stars from the shows were in the chats while the shows played live. Currently in the “lounge” are a variety of CBS shows including: soap operas, Survivor, CSI, Beverly Hills 90210 pilot (the original), The Love Boat and Melrose Place. One might think that a show like “The Big Bang Theory” would be perfect for this. I guess people would rather chat about how Kimberly killed the people in the apartment building!
Intel is the initial sponsor for the social media rooms. CBS notes regarding the sponsorship, “the Social Viewing Rooms let technology leaders such as Intel weave its brand into the center of the entertainment experience with a unique combination of user engagement and brand integration.”
Hollywood Reporter believes that reality shows stand to benefit the most from these social media rooms. I’d tend to agree as long as the rooms match up with when the shows are on live. If not live, then it’s the same as chatting on IRC or any web-based chat service.
My friend Corsin pointed me to a new Flickr-based application called PhotoPhlow today. And after playing with it for a couple of hours, I will say that it might be the most fun and functional application I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s currently in private beta so you will need someone to invite you.
There’s a brief video which is worth watching about how the service works. Here’s the basic overview: tie PhotoPhlow into your flickr account and then you can create chat rooms which tie into flickr to pull photos from. So imagine IRC with the ability to find and share photos inside of the chat. Inside of the chat, certain words become links into flickr search. Once you find an image, you can share it with the chatroom.
You can also do most of the functions inside of flickr on PhotoPhlow including tagging, photo info (exif), comments, etc. When you select a photo, it appears on the right with all of the information about the photo on flickr (see screenshot below). They offer badges for your flickr page to draw people into your PhotoPhlow chatroom.
I could see using it to create a subway chat and then loading and image and others who are interested in subways can participate in the discussion.
As a bonus, it even ties into Twitter! You can message from the chatroom directly into twitter using IRC-like commands. And they recently added Tumbr functionality so if someone shares a photo within a chat, you can send it directly to your Tumblelog.
I’ve got to say that going in I wasn’t thinking that I would see this as something I could imagine using but after playing with it, it’s hot. Outside of personal use, agencies could use this to share design work and chat about it in real-time. The designer loads an image, and then the team can chat about it and also find other images within Flickr to discuss. It *could* have educational possibilities as well.
The only part I’m not crazy about is having to give them access to my flickr account to become a member. Perhaps I want to participate in the conversation and I am not a flickr member. It shouldn’t be a requirement for an account.
ConceptShare should look at this functionality as part of their service – would be hot to import Flickr photos into CS for annotation and team sharing.