One of the social network sites I’ve been using the longest is last.fm.
(If you know what last.fm is, bear with me teaching you to suck eggs for a few paragraphs… it gets more interesting – honest!)
The idea of last.fm is that a background service captures (or “scrobbles“) the music that I listen to on my computer at home, on the mp3 player that I use in the car, and on my laptop in the office.
I do this for a few reasons, including:
- The data is made available to me through a rich API, which means I’m free to play with it, as well as take advantage of the creations of others, such as the wonderful visualisations generated by lastgraph
- I can see what my friends listen to, which is interesting, as well as being a good way to come across new music
- last.fm use this detailed history of my music-listening tastes to make automated recommendations of other music that I might like
This is all a long-winded way of saying that I like last.fm. I find it useful and interesting, and want the same for all the media that I consume – not just music.
But what about the television that I watch? Could I create a last.fm-style scrobbler to capture what I watch on television? And then try and come up with a few examples of how I could share and visualise the data?
This question is where I started at Christmas… and after a few evenings of hacking some Python together, I’ve come up with:
Please go take a look. (needs Flash – sorry)
I’d love to know what you think. (Either here, or on the site itself – I’ve used disqus to add a threaded comments section to every set of graphs)
It’s still very rough-and-ready… think of it as a very early alpha, written in a hurry, by someone drinking too much beer.
And there is hardly any data in there yet because it hasn’t been running for long ehough yet. (I originally planned to leave it running for a few weeks before blogging about it, but it turns out I have the patience of a small child at Christmas. Sorry.).
But already you can see a few simple patterns emerging:
My favouite programmes are House, Top Gear and Doctor Who
I spend too much time watching House on five USA
I watch a lot of comedy quizzes and panel shows – like Have I Got News For You, Mock The Week, etc.
I spend the most time watching programmes on BBC TWO
In general, most of the time, we watch programmes from a BBC channel
In the mornings, we mainly…
watch live television
It’s a start… I’ve got a ton of ideas of how I’d like to extend this. But even now, it’s strangely compelling to see the different graphs build up.
As an added benefit, tinkering with this over Christmas also managed to remove any lingering doubts my family had as to just how geeky I really am