I surely can’t be the only person who avoids Twitter if I can’t see a favourite television programme at the appointed time to avoid spoilers. Although watch-again services like iPlayer and 4OD allow the television schedule to be determined largely by the viewer rather than the station, there are still times when “event” television means that spoiler avoidance is much more difficult. Certain services are now moving to be integrated with your set top to start a brand new social media television revolution.
The relationship between social media and television has meant the massive expansion of the nation’s living room. The use of dedicated programme hashtags on twitter, for example, means that tweeting as you watch has become an integral part of the experience for particular shows – Newsnight, The Apprentice and The X Factor being some notable examples, as well as Formula 1 and pretty much any football match you’d care to mention.
In a recent interview for The Observer, Louise Brealey (who plays Molly in the Steven Moffat BBC drama Sherlock) made particular comment about how Twitter made being on television like being on the stage – because of the immediacy of the audience reaction. And this is where the key to social media television lies – in its interactivity. Watching television on your laptop with a second screen open for Twitter or Facebook is becoming the norm.
What this means in terms of social media management and corporate social media comes back to ideas of the conversation –not only do new media channels allow for immediacy of feedback, but the aspects of social viewing which we’ve seen with programmes like Sherlock and The Apprentice bring up issues of demographic and targeted marketing. And there are a new generation of apps designed to take advantage of this element of social viewing.
It means huge potential in terms of social media television apps. Working on a location-based service model, GetGlue allows users to “check in” to entertainment – television programmes, movies and music – and produces recommendations for users, as well as stickers and discounts in much the same way that Foursquare or Yelp does. Zeebox, available as a free app for iPhone & iPad, is designed to be an aid to social television viewing –find out what your friends are watching, do your own sports commentary, integrated with twitter, exactly what you’d expect, but with the addition of “zeetags”, whereby the app picks up references to various things mentioned throughout the programme. So, if you’re watching Richard & Judy’s book club, it’ll pick up the name of the book and you’ll be able to find a link to buy it. Or maybe it’ll give you the link to buy the latest single on XFactor.
The commercial possibilities of this particular app are obvious, but there are other possibilities too – cancer storyline mentioned in a soap? Why not donate to a cancer charity? In fact, here’s a list of several charities doing work in your area, would you like to donate to them? Or maybe they’re running an event near you – how about taking part?
Whether this would distract from the storyline however is a different matter…
Love social media television? Let us know in the comments.