How should television be using social media?

social tvTelevision, along with much of the media industry, has had a rather troubled relationship with the web.  Much of their efforts seem to have revolved around trying to stop people doing things, whether it’s uploading material to YouTube or sharing files on peer to peer networks.  Indeed so much effort has gone into trying to stop people doing these things that they haven’t really grasped the positive benefits of the social web.

As such the void has primarily been filled by third parties.  For instance the biggest forum for chatting about your favourite tv shows in Britain is Digital Spy, and not a site owned by any of the major networks.  Indeed none of the major networks really have any facilities whereby fans can meet and discuss their favourite shows.

Suffice to say that this is a fairly basic level of interaction, and there are many other uses for which social media can help television companies.  It’s a topic that Shawndra Hill from Wharton has been investigating over at her social tv lab.  You can see an interview with her about her research below.


So how can social media aid the television industry?  It seems that the vast majority of social media usage by TV companies is aimed purely at getting people talking more.  The researchers found examples of TV shows prompting people to tweet about the show and thus guide the discussion a bit, but that’s pretty much it.

It’s basically mirroring the rest of the commercial world in using social media for branding purposes rather than anything more meaningful.  Whilst the research found a nice example of the Chevy car company crowdsourcing their Super Bowl advert, that was as far as it went, and there didn’t appear to be any evidence of producers using fans during the creation of a show, or even doing any significant listening to determine the success of their shows.

So I’d say the media industry has a long way to go before it’s a truly social tv business.



11 thoughts on “How should television be using social media?

  1. Pingback: How Social Media Affects our TV Viewing Habits | SNID Master in Social Networks Influence Design

  2. Social media has a great role in every sector of life and so in television shows. We can see in Facebook , television shows have their fan pages where people can talk about the show and leave their views. If a separate column for television shows is included in social media sites then it would be really helpful. We need to find ways by which television industry can also use social media effectively for its promotion.

  3. The television industry seems as if it is dominated by a bunch of old stuff-shirt types that are so accustomed to having the viewing public by the eyeballs that they appear to believe that if they ignore the web and social media long enough, it will just go away and everyone will come running back to them with open arms for all their entertainment and news needs.

    They may eventually figure out how wrong they are as their viewership continues to decline and the web and all that makes it so essential to people today continues to grow.

  4. I'm already sick of seeing a bunch of stupid "Tweets" at the bottom of the screen when I'm watching some shows. I don't give a rat's behind what Shelly from Hoboken thinks of the show I'm watching!

  5. I see Twitter have bought Trendrr.

    "Over the last five years we have led the way in working with real-time data and television, unlocking the power and value of engagement around TV and creating compelling media experiences around content,"

    "We are excited to be joining Twitter's world class team, enabling us to realize bigger opportunities that drive better experiences for users, media and marketers."

    Trendrr CEO Mark Ghueniem said about the deal.

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