Feb 14, 2013

Posted by in Books, Movies & TV | 6 Comments

Time Spent (Wasted) on Media? Track it!

We live in a world of ridiculous amount of media. And, to our great benefit and terrible misfortune, a majority of it is good and easy to access. I can’t even fathom how much an average person born in the 90’s will have been exposed to by the time he dies. Don’t believe me? Just look at how many books FictFact has reported for February 2013 release alone!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it. The more, the better. But it gets to a point where it’s impossible to remember it all. And I’m one of those folks who likes to mark things down and document progress. Call it the accounting side of me. I know there’s more people out there just like me, but I’m surprised by the slow progress of tools that allow the integration of personal media tracking into the most common forms of social networks. Five years ago, I thought for sure sites like facebook would have completely covered it, creating hubs for people to congregate naturally.

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m referring to comprehensive cataloging tools – websites that allow a person to accumulate personal “shelves” of media they have tackled. Take for instance my preferred site for books: Shelfari, run by Amazon. You read a book and then go to your shelf, and update your accumulated profile that has every book you’ve ever read (that you can remember anyway). Other users can see your shelf, message you, read your reviews, and find links to purchase books on Amazon.

I was first exposed to these websites with Myanimelist, a site for tracking Japanese anime and manga. Years ago, I was tracking all the anime I watched using excel, because there was just so much, and the names of them all ran together (seeing as they were in Japanese). I’d often start rewatching a show I had long ago finished or dropped, because I forgot or didn’t recognize the name. So, when I finally found Myanimelist, I was overjoyed. It was a God-send. And it’s still the premiere site. They have undeniably perfected the formula – to this day, no other site comes close. It features simple pages for each show and manga in existence, with cumulative scores by users, message boards, reviews, news, and clubs. A veritable community of hundreds of thousands of people that all needed the same thing I was searching for. A shelf. A space to track the media I’d been consuming like a Costco bag of almond M&M’s.

I currently don’t have sites for the games, movies, and American shows I’ve watched, but I know I would use them if I knew of any that existed. (I haven’t yet researched to see if they do exist.) But one day, I’m hoping sites will exist that consolidate all media into one giant shelf – a shelf that can integrate seamlessly with social media as we know it. Am I the only one? Seems the only logical conclusion.

Side note: if anyone knows of any other cataloging sites, please let me know!