Radiotagbot - Bookmarking Radio and TV using Twitter
Radiotagbot is a way to bookmark the current point in a programme that you're listening to (or watching) live, by using twitter. To create a bookmark, you send a message to @radiotagbot with the name of a BBC radio or TV station in in it (e.g. "radio 4" or "r1x" or "BBC1") and it will tweet back to you with the title of the programme and a link to the point in time on iPlayer at which it will (usually) appear. If it's on Radio 1, 1x, 2, 3 or 6 Music, it will also attempt to reply with the music track playing.
Here are some sample exchanges:
You can leave it at that, or if you then go to the Radiotagbot site you can login using Twitter and see the tags you have created.
Screenshot of radiotagbot website.
This work derives from RadioTAG, which makes it possible to select a point in time on a channel on a physical internet-connected radio, and then connect that via the DNS system to services that allow you to do something with that information. These services could be bookmarking something for later to resume playing, or to find out what was playing (or who was speaking) at the time, or something else. Currently RadioTAG can only be used using a few specific types of radio (with specific software), and only within our trial system.
For wide adoption it’s important for us to know whether this type of service would actually be used, and what it would be used for. This Twitter version of it is a lightweight way for us to gather feedback on the ideas.
This implementation is a relatively small change to the codebase used in RadioTAG, and uses the same backend infrastructure:
- A tagging web service, which uses an Solr-powered database of metadata about programmes, channels and iPlayer availability
- An authentication server
- A web site
The main difference is that the physical device authentication is not required. Instead, any tweet to @radiotagbot is stored, and authentication only occurs when you log into the site to view your tags. The other addition is code that connects to Twitter’s API every 30 seconds, looks for messages directed at @radiotagbot, parses those tweets looking for variants of radio and tv channel names, creating a tag and responding on Twitter if it finds a result.
If you’re on Twitter, we’d be delighted if you’d give it a try. Feedback should go to me at @libbymiller or by email to email@example.com.
I’d like to thank Richard Northover, who had the idea to use Twitter in this way, and provided many helpful comments on the implementation, and Steve Bowbrick, who provided great feedback as well as help in deciding on the usecases to target.