Introducing Couch: Watch Videos With Friends
Over the weekend, my friends Parris and Clay helped me hack together the first iteration of an idea that’s been in my head for far too long: a way to watch videos with friends, using Twitter as your remote. We’re calling it Couch, and you can play with it today at AddToCouch.com.
It works like this: when you hit our homepage, we randomly assign you a hashtag (they can be pretty fun). When anyone tweets a YouTube video @AddToCouch with that hashtag, it will start playing. Anyone else can do the same and keep adding to a queue of videos that everyone watches together. And I really do mean anyone and everyone — you can watch with friends around your TV, or trade videos with a friend on the other side of the world (just point them to addtocouch.com/room/YourHashtag).
@AddToCouch #YourHashtag http://YouTubeURL
I took it out to my favorite bar Monday night and hooked my laptop up to their projector on the back patio. Even without sound, it was a total hit! Almost a dozen different people added videos, and we kept it going til my laptop died. To make things even better, my friend Kyle was tuned in from his apartment in Oakland and commented back on the videos over Twitter!
It’s obviously rough around the edges currently, but there are a few things about Couch that I’m particularly fond of.
First and foremost, by using Twitter as a protocol, it engages a large audience of people without requiring an app download or proprietary interface. I’ve loved how payments companies like Venmo & Square have used text and email, respectively, to facilitate payments super easily. Twitter is the home of media & commentary today (and you trust them with that, as you trust SMS/email with private matters), and it’s only a tap away on the majority of smartphones.
Second, it connects people through (rather than just to) media. As I learned at Eventbrite, great things happen when you connect people.
Third, it’s exceptionally fast. Credit goes primarily to Parris for that (7ms response times! and 0ms for cached assets), and it makes a difference. If it took a few seconds for the video to appear, you might still consider Twitter as a lesser being than email or sms. In actuality, it’s the same as those, just more public. That’s certainly some of the magic here, especially if you’re the one starting the room.
Of course there are infinitely more things we want to build here — extending the concepts of Twitter as remote, adding more ways to make people feel more connected while watching, and of course protecting against trolls. We’ll keep at it, and would love to hear from you with ideas and feedback!
Oh, and we’d also love your votes for the Node Knockout hackathon — use the little Facebook “KO” widget on the top right of the homepage to vote. Thanks!
Stoked to share this. Give it a shot!