August 5, 2013

The social TV conversation

The actors and writers tweet in response to keep the conversation fun.

The actors and writers tweet in response to keep the conversation fun.

It’s been a long day. I just want to come home and chill out. After having some dinner and getting everything squared away for the next day, I plop down on my comfy couch for my prime time show of the night that I’ve waited all day to watch. Who cares that I’ve changed into sweatpants or taken my makeup off? I’m shielded from the public while watching the private lives of others — real and fictional. But now I’m watching my shows with millions of other fans, thanks to social media.

No more waiting for the next day’s lunchroom chatter or a text from your best friend during a commercial to find out how others feel about every OMG moment. Social media is a-buzz during airings, and some posts are even crawling across TV screens!

With websites like Hulu and Netflix, watching TV whenever and wherever you want has grown in popularity. Gone are the days of anxiously waiting for the next episode of Grey’s AnatomyEven with online binge watching’s growing popularity, live conversation about various shows has brought viewers back to the couch with a modern TV experience.

Have you started to see this shift into community TV? Many networks have successfully made the switch, thinking up creative ways to keep their viewers busy and involved while attracting new fans. One of my favorite shows, Scandal, is a Shonda Rimes drama about a fixer for the White House, and it has undeniably expanded its audience through social media engagement. Viewers reach out to cast members, writers and Rimes herself, asking questions and commenting on each crazy episode. The actors and writers tweet in response to keep the conversation fun. This adds up to nearly 2,200 tweets each minute during an airing episode! Scandal’s social media team develops trending topics to chirp over as plotlines twist and turn, so followers can predict what happens next and how Rimes will blow their minds yet again. One of the best hashtags was #WhoShotFitz, which questioned the identity of President Fitzgerald Grant’s shooter.

Some shows have given their viewers too much room to chat, allowing unfiltered and hurtful comments to pop up during viewings. During one an episode of The Bachelorette, a show broadcasting live tweets while airing via BachelorNation Speaks Out, one viewer grew tired of seeing the various opinions of others. She took matters into her own hands, tweeting, “I wish the tweets at the bottom of the screen would go away on the bachelorette. #noonecares.” Others have posted cruel opinions about the various contestants, forgetting that they are publicly criticizing real people.

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Some shows have given their viewers too much room to chat, allowing unfiltered and hurtful comments to pop up during viewings.

Speculating about plot twists and chatting with members of the cast and crew make watching TV ten times more fun and engaging. But unfiltered comments about the actions of personalities on reality shows can be downright hurtful. Sure, social media is about freedom of expression. But nobody wants to see these types of comments when it’s time to chill out and watch TV!

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