Extract of: P. Cesar and D. Geerts, "Understanding Social TV: a survey," in Proceedings of the Networked and Electronic Media Summit (NEM Summit 2011), Torino, Italy, September 27-29, 2011. (http://homepages.cwi.nl/%7Egarcia/material/nem-summit2011.pdf)
In recent years social networking and social interactions have challenged old conceptions in the television landscape. Web applications that offer video content, networked television sets and set-top boxes, tablets and smart phones as ‘second screens’, and online TV widgets are – or, will be – radically transforming how people watch and interact around television content. Since the wealth of existing solutions and approaches might be daunting to newcomers, frameworks that categorize the most salient features of existing applications are needed.
Social Television constitutes a fundamental shift in how people interact and socialize around television content. Websites are starting to combine video streaming services with social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Media software like Boxee allows users to recommend and share favourite television programs, and YouTube Social enables friends to remotely watch television together. All these developments can be called social TV: allowing remote viewers to socially interact with each other via the television set, smart phones, tablets or the PC, where viewers might be separated in time and/or in space. Some examples of social TV services include the integration of micro-blogging updates during a live video stream and social networking applications that allow commenting while watching video content. Several similar applications are recently being created for smart phones and tablets, which act as a secondary screen, so the commenting and communication do not occupy valuable space on the television set. In parallel to the integration of social networking into the television environment, there have been successful efforts in enabling domestic high-quality videoconferencing; providing a direct communication link between separate households watching television together. SkypeTV, Umi, and Kinect are pioneers in this direction.
The main social TV categories can be defined as:
Content Selection and Sharing
Due to the wide range of alternatives, content selection has been considered as a cornerstone of interactive television systems. Since the first commercial interactive television solutions, the Electronic Program Guide (EPG) helps viewers decide what to watch, sometimes providing video recording capabilities. The EPG is a table-based application showing the schedule of different channels, mimicking traditional TV listings in magazines and newspapers. On the other hand, one can find on the Web a variety of playback video streaming services such as BBC’s iPlayer, Netflix, Apple TV, and Hulu. Such systems tend to provide more efficient and open mechanisms for content selection, since old broadcast thinking models do not need to be followed. In this direction, the recently launched Google TV is raising expectations as a convergence environment between the Web and the television world. While the previous examples mostly concentrate on time-shifted content, real-time broadcasting services (e.g., Facebook Live, Justin.tv) are becoming an alternative.
A number of social TV applications support direct communication between its users. Early TV-based research systems like Alcatel-Lucent’s AmigoTV or Motorola’s Social TV allow users to talk with each other using voice. Similarly, the first commercial social webTV applications Joost and Lycos Cinema enabled users to text chat with each other while watching online TV or movies. While Instant Messaging solutions allowed users to share videos while chatting (e.g., Windows Messenger and Zync from Yahoo!), more recently, the web-based applications Watchitoo and YouTube Social also enable talking and videoconferencing while watching the same content.
Community building refers to the activity of sharing thoughts, comments, and impressions about television programs with a large community. Followers of a specific show normally comprise such community, who before the advent of social television mainly gathered on web based forums for sharing their passion.
In some cases, games (e.g., NBA Real Time Fantasy) and other immersive activities are provided by the television channel or by individual followers of the show. In the past, successful approaches included the use of telephone calls for deciding the outcome of a show – Big Brother or the Eurovision song contest are good examples – but lately many television channels are providing specific Web pages with Facebook and Twitter updates. TV Chatter and Starling TV are two recent examples of the community building category, where comments related to a television program are gathered and aggregated. While TV Chatter renders the Twitter stream in an external device – mobile phone - GoogleTV and Verizon’s Fiber Optic Television offer the possibility of overlaying the comments alongside the television content. In most of the cases such aggregation is done via an external channel, with no effect on the program.
While early social TV systems usually offered status sharing (e.g. “I’m watching Breaking News on CNN”) as one of its social features, more recently many applications have been launched which offer status sharing as its core feature. Applications like Miso, Tunerfish, IntoNow and PhiloTV allow users to indicate the TV program they are watching by ‘checking in’ to that program. Users that frequently check into a specific TV program earn badges. Apart from indicating the TV program a user is watching, these applications also provide the option to write a short, twitter-like, status update. Similar to Twitter, users can follow other users, so they receive the status updates and other information from these users.
This blog post provides a structured framework for better understanding an emergent field, social TV. Where social networking and mass media seamless integrate, leveraging social interactions between viewers separated in time and/or space. In the future, we can expect convergent environments where TV, the Web, and social networks fluidly interoperate; domestic video conferencing that nurtures closed relationships; and novel social-aware TV formats.
The realm of higher education has, so far, responded to the Internet revolution with decidedly mixed results. Though enthusiasm about online learning, for example, is shared by many institutional leaders, the results of actually implementing online-only classes have been equivocal at best. An area in which universities have fared much better is in providing course materials to its students online, and allowing them to submit homework and papers electronically. But, though a convenient and welcomed feature, it by no means represents the large scale paradigm shift that many educators were hoping would come as a result of colleges going online.
The one area that presents the widest spectrum of success for higher ed in America is arguably web presence. In the age in which any company without a website might as well not exist, colleges have adapted to this sea change in public image creation with hugely varying degrees of enthusiasm - and success. The social media revolution of just the last few years has, in particular, seen an enormous range of responses. Some colleges have ignored Facebook and Twitter completely, leaving it up to the student newspaper or admissions office to maintain their images online. Others, such as Harvard and UC Berkeley, have dived in head first, racking up tens of thousands of Twitter followers and millions of YouTube views. Between those two ends of the spectrum lies the rest of academia, which either neglects the web as an outreach tool entirely, or tries to utilize it with limited success.
Best Education Sites is a new online resource that assesses the quality of colleges and universities across America with a critical eye. A panel of experts rates the home pages of various schools based on design, usability, and content - even allowing users to submit their own ratings - and also assesses the degree to which each school has taken advantage of social media. This infographic, compiled from Best Education Sites' wealth of statistical data on the academic webspace, tracks the schools that have so far stood out in the race for web supremacy. Profiling the top collegiate tweeters, Facebookers and YouTubers - as well as looking at trends in design and coding - it lays out all you need to know about the current online landscape of higher education.
Created by: Best Education Sites
Nice infographic found in "Digital - Die Zeitschrift für die Informationsgesellschaft, Sep/Oct 2011"
SOCIAL MEDIA RETRIEVAL, a book edited by:
Multimedia content has become ubiquitous on the web, creating new challenges for indexing, access, search and retrieval. At the same time, much of this content is made available on content sharing websites such as YouTube or Flickr, or shared on social networks like Facebook. In such environments, the content is usually accompanied with metadata, tags, ratings, comments, information about the uploader and their social network, etc. Analysis of these "social media" shows a great potential in improving the performance of traditional multimedia information analysis/retrieval approaches by bridging the semantic gap between the "objective" multimedia content analysis and "subjective" users' needs and impressions. The integration of these aspects, however, is non-trivial and has created a vibrant, interdisciplinary field of research. The main objective of this book is to provide in-depth knowledge that explicitly exploits the synergy between multimedia content analysis, personalization, and next generation networking and community aspects of social networks. We believe that this integration could result in robust, personalized multimedia services, providing users with an improved multimedia centric quality of experience (QoE) awareness. In response to the booming developments in social networks, this edited book intends to keep readers abreast of the current research and development trends in this area by bringing together high quality chapters.
Objective of the book
This edited book is anticipated to be an assortment of tutorials, surveys, and original contributions that concentrate on the most contemporary advances in social media retrieval. The principle aspiration of this edited book is not only to cover the theoretical and practical fundamentals, but also cover the state-of-the-art techniques and challenges of the subject area. A number of promising developments and innovative guidelines will also be explained in this edited book with the aim of motivating further work and providing an informative overview for academic research and practice.
Recommended topics include, but are not limited to, the following
Social Networks on Multimedia Applications
The IEEE Computer Society issues the following Call for Participation and invites interested parties to join the Special Technical Community (STC) on Social Networking.
The aim of this STC is to provide the entry point for researchers and practitioners in Social Networking, fostering communication and interaction between people in the community.
The STC on Social Networking intends to be Agora for researchers with similar interests to meet and gather. We are interested in (but not limited to) the following topics:
How to participate? Come and join us via:
For users, content providers and service providers who need more values beyond plain readership and sharing of digitised
Tom Costello is providing the guest editor's introduction on CN's August theme on social networking.
Abstract: Social networking brings with it a host of new and existing challenges, and the approaches that we collectively use to handle them will form the social networking framework of the future.
Further details including free articles can be found here.
In January 2011 Sorel Reisman the first time introduced Special Technical Communities (STCs) to the public: «By the end of 2011, we’ll have launched pilot Special Technical Communities in social networking, could computing, education, software engineering, and green computing.» 
In June 2011 Dejan Milojicic and Phil Laplante provide an in-depth review of STCs and an overview of existing (pilot) STCs . STCs offer a new engagement model for IEEE CS members and the much broader computer practitioner world to collaborate for their individual and mutual benefit and to advance technical topics to the benefit of the profession. STCs are intended go beyond traditional membership and activities and open new outlets for the membership to create and distribute intellectual property (IP). They will create new revenue-generating opportunities, new products, and services and enrich professional activities (e.g., newsletters, sharing of best practices). Finally, STCs will help strengthen governance by allowing all members to feel closer to decision-making processes through the dynamic organizational structure.
The principles behind an STC can be summarized as follows.
Special Technical Community on Social Networking
« A social network service is an online service, platform, or site that focuses on building and reflecting of social networks or social relations among people, e.g., who share interests and/or activities. » from here.
The aim of the STC on Social Networking (STCSN) is to provide the entry point for researchers and practitioners in social networking, fostering communication and interaction between people in the community. The STC on Social Networking intends to be the Agora for researchers with similar interests to meet and gather. We are interested in (but not limited to) the following topics:
For the moment, come and sign-up here and/or join us via http://computer.org/stcsn, http://facebook.com/stcsn, http://twitter.com/stcsn, http://linkd.in/stc-sn
Christian Timmerer, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Austria;
Email: email@example.com; Web: http://research.timmerer.com
 S. Reisman, “Planning for an Inevitable Future”, IEEE Computer, vol. 44, no. 1, January 2011.
 D. Milojicic, P. Laplante, “Special Technical Communities”, IEEE Computer, vol. 44, no. 6, June 2011.
This STC has already quite a long history of blog posts (on various sites which is indexed here, newest on top):