Ode to @Shelby

The value proposition of Shelby.tv is simple: it aggregates all the video links that is shared by people in my social networks (FB, Twitter, Tumblr). It’s a web application that I initially found superfluous, but now use regularly.

In fact, the more I use the service, the more I’ve come to realize why I need it. I’m often missing many of the videos that people share as my feed updates so quickly. When I’m just checking Twitter on my mobile for quick updates, I don’t have the time to watch a 3 minute clip of Linsanity’s greatest moments. The Shelby team has done a great job in developing a simple platform that plays cool videos that are relevant to me with minimal effort on my part. 

User-generated video content is exploding – Youtube is now seeing 60 hours of video uploaded every minute, compared to just 6 hours per minute in 2007. This increase in volume, however, has made it so much harder to find quality content. Lately, I’ve found the suggested items in my Youtube feed to be lackluster, if not seemingly random. Shelby’s user-curated approach piggy-backs off existing social networks to populate my personal video channel. I especially like the video autoplay as soon as I land on the page – kind of like turning on a TV! 

I think that Shelby can go a step further in video curation by following Turntable.fm’s crowd-sourced model. Sometimes, I’m just in the mood to watch ridiculous Epic Meal Time episodes, or cool dance videos. Just as how each DJ room on Turntable is theme by music genre, “channels” on Shelby could feature various video topics, such as sport clips, cat videos, or music performances from the 70’s. Watching videos on Shelby now is an asynchronous activity, while these “channels” would make it synchronous and thereby more social. 

For now, Shelby’s social functionality only consists of sharing videos via e-mail or Twitter. However, I often wish that there was a way I can highlight a scene or a line from a video clip when I’m sharing it with my friends. If Shelby can implement social video annotations or user-generated subtitles (kind of like Canvas for video), it could become the destination to watch online videos with others. As XKCD points out, Youtube parties are so common in this day and age… and no viewing party is complete without a snarky comment or two. 

The Shelby application is already awesome – and I’m really looking forward to watching it (note: pun intended) grow its user base and develop its product! Have you tried Shelby yet? What do you think?

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