Some weeks back, halfway through the development of Shownar, I saw a whole bunch of messages on Twitter about a mix on BBC Radio 1. That was the Jaguar Skills Gaming Weekend mix — it’s no longer on iPlayer, but that turned into an ace afternoon with ace music.
More recently the Reith Lectures have been on Radio 4. Shownar’s finding a load of blog posts about the lectures, really insightful ones. I didn’t realise the lectures were on until they popped up on the site one morning.
This is a website I now check daily…
Shownar tracks millions of blogs and Twitter plus other microblogging services, and finds people talking about BBC telly and radio. Then it datamines to see where the conversations are and what shows are surprisingly popular. You can explore the shows at Shownar itself. It’s an experimental prototype we’ve designed and built for the BBC over the last few months. We’ll learn a lot having it in the public eye, and I hope to see it as a key part of discovery and conversation scattered across BBC Online one day.
Dan Taylor tells the story on the BBC Internet blog, so I won’t say more here except for a few thanks…
Dan calls out our colleagues at the BBC. I’d like to thank especially him and Kat Sommers. Our data partners at Nielsen, Twingly and Yahoo!, as well at the LiveStats team inside the BBC — it’s been a pleasure to work with you. Major kudos to the folks behind the BBC Programmes database and system for creating such a fundamental piece of infrastructure. And to everyone working for and with S&W: Max Ackerman, Jesper Andersen, Nick Ludlam, Jack Schulze, and most especially Tom Armitage, Phil McCarthy and Phil Gyford, great work and well done all! I’m proud to work with all of you.
The idea of using computers to watch and reflect audiences, to find not just what’s popular but what’s surprisingly popular, turns out to be a number-crunchingly heavy task. I hope that Shownar, during this phase of its development, becomes a site people genuinely use daily to join in talking about and with the BBC, and to widen their consumption to previously undiscovered, engaging programmes. There’s a feedback address on the site — please use it! We’re after stories of where it works and where it doesn’t, and some insight into whether this kind of product really does change habits. It has mine.
We go public today: Shownar.