The Urban Dictionary lists "Ridin QWERTY" as the play on words for "riding dirty," and defines it as the illegal act of texting while driving - with Q-W-E-R-T-Y being the first 6 letters on any standard keyboard. Philo, a new social networking for TV fans is taking that concept off-road and moving it into your living room or home office. Commencing on Valentines Day, check your local listings and start 'ridin QWERTY" from your favorite 'coach potato' perch.
As TV continues to merge with social media on various formats, Philo provides users with a means to combine their TV watching with social networking. On February 14th, the social television platform will partner with TV Guide Magazine to engage their 14 million readers in a promotional campaign that will encourage them to interact with fans and enter to win virtual and high-end prizes by "checking in" to select programs, à la Foursquare.
As to Philo's origins, the network pay homage to Philo Taylor Farnsworth (1906-1971) who was credited for Philo Taylor Farnsworththe early development of television. As a youth in 1922, Farnsworth first revealed his scientific discoveries for an all-electric television system early on. He later established an electronics laboratory in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he succeeded in turning his dreams into reality by inventing the first receiving tube for television transmissions. Modern TV, based on Farnsworth's inventions was purchased by ITT in 1951.
The "Philo-TV Guide" competition consists of a series of weekly sweepstakes which will begin with lucky participants vying for 10 Logitech remote controls (valued at $100 each).
Checking-in and interacting with any of the the ten different featured television shows like "Amazing Race: Unfinished Business" or "Justified" will unlock a "Too Hot for TV" badge which will earn fans an entry into the grand prize sweepstakes to win a trip to TV Guide Magazine's annual, star-studded "Hot List Party" in Los Angeles. Each viewer's check-in will count as one entry - and after checking into all 10 featured shows, he or she will increase their odds by receiving an additional 20 entries.
“TV Guide Magazine and Philo were both created for and by passionate TV fans, making this the perfect partnership,” said David Levy, CEO of Philo. “We are thrilled to join forces with one of the nation’s most recognized and trusted entertainment publications to empower TV viewers to engage with a community of like-minded fans and enjoy a new, more immersive real-time television experience.”
“We always look for innovative ways to engage and interact with our magazine audience – a passionate group of television enthusiasts,” said Debra Birnbaum, Editor-in-Chief, TV Guide Magazine. “We are excited about this promotion with Philo, which will allow readers of the magazine to interact with each other in a brand new way.”
Philo is hoping to make TV social again. Like the early days of television when families use to invite neighbors over to watch an evening's worth of programming, Philo is using social networking as the modern day take on that same type of social experience. By registering with Philo, users can see what their friends are watching and commenting about - what's popular - what's not - and they are also able to post to Twitter and Facebook in the process.
While it's a creative way of combining TV watching with social networking, until a device actually melds the two formats onto one platform, you are still juggling between your PC and the TV set. And I don't know about you, but "riding QWERTY" from your couch can be distracting, similar to Fox's failed attempt at something similar last year called "Tweet-peats." (See "The Boy Who Invented TV Gets Social Media App Named After Him.") Nonetheless, it's an innovative approach and a perfect fit for those who have the consistent need to multi-task or are afflicted with "attention-deficit-disorder."