Cognitive Surplus – Chapter 7

Looking for the Mouse

Looking for the mouse is looking for a way to make an existing thing better. Taking an old technology and saying “If we apply cognitive surplus to this, can we make it better?”

I used to think that interactive TV was a “why?”, and still do to some extent. I don’t get the dancing show where people call in and vote. I just don’t. But of course, part of that probably stems from the fact that I don’t like watching TV in general, and I detest reality programming specifically. I think that reality TV is going to become the downfall of our entertainment industry. Now, programming that uses an app that let’s you connect socially to other fans while watching the program? That’s kind of fun. You’ve got the show, created professionally, but you still get that social aspect where you get to connect to other people that love your show. That, I think, is a constructive use of a community. It makes the show have more of a pull, and strengthens the feelings of the people who get to interact with other fans as it happens. It’s a heady feeling.

I don’t know if I’ve ever been guilty of “looking for the mouse”. I tend to consume either just to consume, (reading a book, watching a movie, watching one of my DVRed shows) or I consume while creating (playing an online game with friends and guildies in the pursuit of a common goal). I don’t usually try to create an opportunity where it didn’t already exist.

As for the future? I think that smart-phones are going to become capable of doing more, and the computer industry will begin to decline. More people can do everything they want on their phone, that except for an office or professional environment, or hardcore gamers, we are increasingly going to start relying on gaming platforms and smart phones to do what we want. Computers will become more and more like tablets, with decreased functionality, and phones will do the same thing: become more and more like tablets with increased functionality. Have you see the Galaxy? I rest my case. It’s like holding a tv on the side of your head.

I’ve heard of interactive television, but that’s just ridiculous.