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The Intersection of Social Media and TV

If you find yourself tweeting during your favorite TV program, you’re not alone. Social media has brought with it a revolution in the way we watch TV and provides a new feedback vehicle to those behind the scenes of our favorite shows. This type of social-viewing is something that’s happening more and more as people look to interact with other fans and share their favorite jokes, memorable moments and even their gripes.

According to a Boston.com article, this trend is called “Social TV”, and as much as we love chatting about the most recent episode of The Bachelor or Walking Dead, producers, ad execs and others in the industry love hearing our feedback. In fact, feedback from Social TV holds just as much weight (if not more in some cases) as Nielson ratings. Driving this point home, the article cites Christy Tanner, executive vice president of TVGuide Digital: “We write more about ‘Glee’ and ‘The Vampire Diaries’ than we might if we only looked at Nielsen ratings because of the strong social TV ‘buzz’ these shows generate.”

Social TV is also a great forum to garner meaningful criticism in addition to viewer likes and dislikes. It provides an opportunity for producers to tweak their future shows based on viewer reaction. For example, according to the article, the writers of Modern Family track viewer reactions to see which jokes are found the funniest, and which fall short.

But these types of insights aren’t possible without viewer engagement, and at the heart of this movement are really two things – the desire to be connected, and the ability to connect. There seems to be an inherent desire to connect with others that, in some ways, can be satisfied through a shared experience with TV shows. For instance, my mother often reminisces about the days when Saturday Night Live was the hot new program, and she and her friends would rush home to catch the latest antics of Gilda Radner.

From watching TV in big groups, to chatting about it the next day at the water cooler, the social element of TV has evolved throughout the ages as the way we interact with others has also evolved. This is largely due to the introduction of newer technologies – now, Twitter is the new water cooler.We have easy access to the internet with the likes of laptops, tablets, iPads and smart phones. And because of this, it’s easy to watch TV while quickly connecting with a network of people who share the same interests.

It’s encouraging to see the influence of social media with that of traditional TV watching and I’m excited to see what’s to come as we continue to evolve the way we connect and how we go about doing it.

This post was first published by Joanna DiTrapano on March Communications’ blog, PR Nonsense, and may be viewed here.

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