This article was written by a culture blogger in partnership with LG.
One of the best things about Twitter is the fact that you get to be part of a community. There are people all over the world discussing all sorts of topics – from Obama’s re-election as US president (the photo he tweeted of him hugging his wife is the most retweeted post of all time), to the Haiti earthquake response by journalists at the scene.
Whether on a large scale like these examples or chatting with like-minded people about local issues, Katie Price’s latest wedding and what’s on the TV, you can’t help but feel a part of something really special.
Hashtags are a way of tracking conversations you’re having about the same topic as others. Tag your 140-character comment about Kat and Alfie’s argument in #EastEnders for example, and when you search for the #EastEnders tag, you’ll see your tweet along with everything that anyone else is saying about the soap. EastEnders regularly gets more than one tweet per second when it’s being broadcasted.
TV viewers want a simultaneous and interactive experience between Twitter and the programme they are watching. One in three Twitter users has tweeted about shows they’re watching on TV. The developers of Twitter have found that “Across networks and genres, when TV shows bring hashtags, accounts, or other Twitter elements into the broadcast itself, we see a direct and immediate increase in engagement on Twitter—anywhere from two to ten times more Tweets created while the shows air.”
In fact, the developers actively encourage programme makers to show the hashtag for their show as it cuts for advert breaks or synchronise it to jaw-dropping moments of the show, like NBC did with The Voice. Live shows like this are made for Twitter.
The relationship between social media and TV is being called “social television”. Social television is revolutionising the way TV shows are created, delivered and consumed. As the above link shows, programmes like The Voice have fully embraced Twitter as a way to interact more closely with its consumers. Twitter is most successful during anything with an unexpected outcome such as reality TV, drama and sports shows. People like to talk about the events and plots as they unravel in front of them – they love to share their thoughts and hear the opinions of others.
So how can we make this experience even better? LG has come up with one ingenious idea – the built-in Social Center within its smart TV feature allows you to run and monitor your Facebook and Twitter feeds on the screen alongside the show you’re watching. No more balancing a laptop on your knees while watching television or tweeting on your phone while trying not to miss the action. You’ve got it all there on one screen.
It’s possible we’ll see more of Twitter being integrated with TV programmes. Could we soon see tweets broadcasted on air in real time? Robin Sloan, from the media partnership team of Twitter certainly thinks so, and says there are lots of opportunities with social television: “If you are the producer of one of those big shows – let’s say CSI or NCIS – and you come to us and say, how should I integrate Twitter into my show? That’s actually something we are still trying to figure out. This is all still really new and we don’t know exactly how Twitter works best or what the right tools are, but we are always looking for partners willing to experiment”.
It’s an exciting time for both social media and TV – perhaps soon we could even start seeing producers being directly influenced by instant feedback on Twitter and using this to write the next episodes? That way, consumers have a direct impact and influence on the content that is created. Twitter to take over the world!
Note: this article was produced in collaboration with LG