We’ve got lots of new things coming at Rabbit, so we thought a new blog would be the best way to show everything off.
So, we won’t be posting here anymore. But please join us at our new blog!
Wish us luck.
Have other ideas or suggestions? Let us know! Or, you can even throw an event yourself – just visit the room "Hop In" and share your favorite video, music, or whatever you’d like (don’t forget to let us know, we’d love to join!)
Have fun and see you in Rabbit!
(any feedback you have as part of this beta focus test will help us understand interest in premium music concerts, sports and live streams of your favorite TV shows)
In this round of Rabbit Makes News, we get a kickass new CEO and start interacting with this thing called…um… “the…web?” We don’t know, all the kids are into it.
Rabbit is all about watching stuff together with your friends, even when they’re far away!
Let us know what you want to watch and who you want to watch it with and we may make your tweet the star of our next video!
Tweet @LetsRabbit and let us know what you want to watch and who you want to watch it with. Use hashtag #letsrabbit
Can’t wait to hear from you!
The above comment was posted in response to our most recent vid@* The comment was deleted soon after posting. But thanks to the power of Screen Shot technology, it is forever preserved in the annals of time.
Which is a good thing, because we like this comment very much.
We know that vid@’s are how a lot of people see Rabbit in action for the first time. So it makes sense that viewers would voice their reactions not only to the video content but to the concept as a whole.
But what surprises us is that in all the time that we’ve been showing Rabbit to people, this Unknown Troll is the first to make this observation. Which, we think, makes him pretty smart.
Around the office we’ve begun to speak of the “axis switch” implied by the Rabbit concept. We can explain what that means. But first..lets go back in time.
*goes back in time*
OK, we’re back in the past. It’s cool here. But it smells funny. Look. They just invented the telephone. And believe it or not, it’s a totally mind bending concept. Because for the 10,000 years the deal was if you wanna talk to someone you’re going to have to be within a few feet of them. You’ll see them. Smell them. Touch them
Then all of a sudden here’s this thing where you can have conversations with people that are nowhere near you. Nothing exists of them except their voice. Oh and also, it’s coming out of a box now. So that’s weird. This is a complete departure from the most basic assumptions that underlay the entire history of human interaction. Of all the WTF’s in human history this is one of the WTFiest!
*returns to present*
Well. We’ve recovered nicely. It would appear that we are now quite comfortable with the idea that we can communicate with people that are not within striking distance
So how does this relate to this axis?
First consider that Rabbit at its most basic is this:
A way to watch stuff with friends who are not in the same room with you.
So, what the telephone was to talking, Rabbit is to watching stuff.
But here’s our WTF moment: for all of history watching stuff together has looked like this:
See? You and your friends are on the same side of the x-axis.
But in a Post-Rabbit world, it looks more like this:
Now this is what we’re talking about. Rabbit switches the traditional axis that separates you from your friends. And in doing so, it makes your friends part of your content.
(Which, by the way, we think is an incredibly cool idea. And one that we are only at the very beginning of exploring. Because it just occurred to us.)
Anyway, this is what Our Mystery Troller was on about. And it’s actually kind of a badass observation, if you ask us.
At Rabbit, our favorite place to be is at the very edge of new and kind of crazy ideas. And our favorite thing to do with these new and crazy ideas is to hear what you think about them.
So what say you, dear readers?
Can we just do an axis switch like this?
What new and crazy things could happen if your friends were literally part of your content?
We love your ideas. Comment on our post or email us with your thoughts, no matter how random.
*(Vid@’s are a marketing tool we came up with this summer where we make a video specifically for someone who tweeted about a problem for which Rabbit can be a solution. To have a vid@ made for you, just tweet using #WatchInRabbit Let us know what you want to watch and who you want to watch it with)
We think it sums up perfectly what real life second screen interaction looks like. We know how easily distracted we all are. And one of the things we most look forward to when we sit down to take in a show is the total, uninterrupted freedom to completely interrupt what we’re watching by furiously tweeting, Facebooking, and looking up random tangentially related factoids on Wikipedia and IMDB. This is what TV veiwing is like. And we like it that way.
So while the TV industry, and the advertisers that fund it, would like to be able to reach us no matter where our eyes are turned, the reality is that there’s still a long way to go before that’s the case. A recent Neilsen report puts it this way: “among tablet owners, general Web searches (76%), and general Web browsing (68%) are still among the top second-screen activities.” That means people are still overwhelmingly browsing general information, unrelated to the drama on the screen. This data is from 2013 Q1, so it remains to be seen whether this trend will continue over time, but we interpret this to mean that viewers still want to retain what we’re calling “focus independence” Simply put, this means that we want to be able to look at whatever we want whenever we want.
We touched on this idea here. But the unifying theme here is that we want what we want when and how we want it. And there’s no reason to think that will change. (Has it ever?)
But content producers may continue trying to convince us to use our second screens to talk about their content. Mostly because it’s sometimes successful. The recent X Factor UK Voting app, (convieniently brought to you by Dominoes Pizza) appears to have a pretty sweet acquisition-to-monetization funnel. Through the app, viewers become the 5th Judge on the wildly popular show and (to the delight of advertisers) tune in the following weeks to see the outcome of their actions and to vote again. But unfortunately there are much more poorly conceived, slap-a-twitterhandle-on it campaigns that completely ignore that fact that independently- thinking viewers need more than the name of a Facebook page in order to actually spend our precious time with their campaign. We need to feel that what’s being offered will ADD VALUE to our viewing experience. It needs to be tied in with the stories we are watching. We need to feel that by logging on we’re going to be having a BETTER viewing and storytelling experience than we otherwise would have.
And there is another way. It is perhaps closer to what we are working on at Rabbit. One our our goals is to make television viewing a TRULY social experience. Not by adding another device or screen through which to socialize while watching TV, but rather by creating a technology that will allow you to do all of it in one place. On one screen. And we think we’re close.
We think that the point isn’t to give advertisers another way to reach you, but to give YOU a better way to reach whoever and whatever you want. Whether that’s friends, information, or even a product or service in which you have a genuine personal interest.
So if it’s true that in Rabbit, you can watch, live video chat, and screenshare with others, at the same time, on the same screen, then that means that your phone/tablet/laptop is free to do an entirely new level of ridiculous multi-tasking!
Go ahead. Go crazy.
We’ve got your back.
In his book Endgame, environmental activist Derek Jensen discusses the idea of a toxic mimic. It’s a term borrowed from a situation in nature wherein an animal takes on the colors and characteristics of another animal in order to lure prey. It essentially mimics a healthy food source, but when the would-be consumer attempts to partake, it turns out to be anything but.
In his work, Jensen attempts to transfer this idea to elements of our constructed society. Fast food, he argues for example, is a toxic mimic for nutrition. While it may take on the colors and characteristics of a meal, it has the paradoxical effect of separating us more from actual nourishing and healthy food because once we have consumed a quick collection of carbs, fats and salt, we are under the medically mistaken impression that we have eaten a real meal. Moreover we’ll seek to have our food needs met similarly in the future. In fact, this paradox lies at the core of the concept. The problem is not just that we are fooled into thinking something is what it isn’t. It’s that the net result of that deception is that we end up much farther away from the very thing we were seeking.
All of this makes us think of social media and the world wide web (partially because everything makes us think of social media and the world wide web.) At this point in its development, social media and the social app technology that comes with it face an unresolved and yet deceptively simple question: is it bringing us together, or taking us farther apart?
When we think of situations like the events in Syria, Egypt, or even the Occupy Movement here in the US, we can make a case that that social media has allowed global citizens to connect honestly and directly with one another on an unprecedented, unfiltered way. It’s one thing to read a newspaper headline about clashes between protesters and government forces in Cairo, but quite another to receive an immediate dispatch from a person directly in the fire. Social media, in this case, allows us to be in places and hear from people that we otherwise would not.
But what is the cost?
A recent University of Michigan study has re-awakened the concern that social media makes us more lonely, and unhappy, and less sociable. The study used experience sampling to ask 82 Facebook users how they felt 5 times per day for 14 days. Users additionally completed Satisfaction WIth Life Questionnaires before and after the 14 day period. The results indicated negative shifts in both moment-to-moment and general life satisfaction. The more people used Facebook in one time point, the worse they felt the next time they filled out the survey. And the more they used Facebook over the course of two weeks, the less satisfied they were with their lives.
Indeed there may be alternative explanations (many of which were controlled for). But if, at best, it’s unclear whether or not social media experiences such as Facebook enhance or interfere with our ability to be social, then it is entirely possible that social media itself functions a kind of toxic mimic. By presenting opportunities for connection (a vital need for all humans) it may indeed be generating the exact opposite.
If a product allows people to connect in ways and situations that they otherwise would not have been able to, then it is valuable and brings us together.
If a product or technology interferes with people connecting in ways or situations (like face to face) that they otherwise would have, then it is not valuable, nor inherently social. And any suggestion otherwise is not only false but potentially dangerous.
We are designing Rabbit to make it possible for people who are far away to connect in a way that they would not have otherwise been able to do. And we hope that all of our features and improvements are to that end.
What do you think? Are Facebook and Social Media making us happier, more isolated? What has been your experience? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this discussion. Post in our Rabbit Community.