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A Sense of Connectedness

I am just back from New Zealand. I thought the French had a great love for rugby. But in Old Black’s country, rugby seems to be a national obsession. The Rugby world cup of 2011 will take place in New Zealand, and the whole country will certainly be on fire for a few weeks. It’s already in the air, and the posters and jerseys are everywhere. Then on my way back to Europe, I watched Invictus in the plane. Both made me realize the power of human connection during great national moments.

In my last post, I talked about how mobile TV can keep us apprised of historical moment as they unfold, be it news or sports. But one point I missed is the need for connectedness. Some of us are lucky to be in the venue (in the stadium, in the streets) and catch the fever of the crowd. Others stay with friends and family in front of the tube, still a highly social event. But others are less lucky, they are on the move. How do those “displaced” feel a sense of unity, of connection? During the final game, a little kid in Invictus gets closer to the police car in order to listen to the radio broadcast. But he ends up truly sharing the moment with the policeman, jumping into his arms.

I believe we ought to use social networks to share important live TV moments. Yes, I can hear your sigh of disappointment. “Nothing new here” you say. And I agree. I used to think that sprinkling Facebook everywhere was just a fad, and was definitely overdone in the mobile space. Now, I am starting to believe there is a genuine use for it in mobile TV. Here is what I wish I could do: I wish I could invite my other traveling Facebook buddies to watch the game. We set an appointment. We both launch into the live game at the same time. We see each others connected and watching. I am not alone anymore. We share a few short sentences of encouragements or disappointment, fingers typing but eyes on the live feed. In data published in December 2009, ComScore reports that Facebook users in France consumed 145 millions videos during the year, not far behind Dailymotion and Groupe TF1. There is definitely a willingness to consume video within the online communities.

Nothing will ever beat a true human connection, the cries of joy followed by a hug. But in a world of business and travel, and if well implemented from a user experience perspective, technology can make us feel we are almost there. Without the cold beer.

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