Interacting with the TV

The way we consume content has changed so drastically over the past couple of decades, no longer do we sit around a fire and listen to the radio, (or whatever they did in the 80s), audiences are now not only watching television but also socially interacting with it.

Occasionally when I’m watching television with my family I manage to catch a glimpse of them between switching my attention from the TV to my phone and this little glimpse is all I need to remind me how connected we are to our smaller screens. The family picture that is displayed in front of me is one of people trying to divide their attention between the television and their phones, it’s not only me anymore who can’t leave my phone alone for ten minutes, my 50 year old father has also caught this typical teenage girl disease. I am not the only one who is realising this as more and more television shows start to utilise social media and incorporate it into their program.

Social media has completely entwined itself into various aspects of our lives and this can be shown through the use of Twitter and hashtags on multiple television programs. Many shows are using Twitter to their advantage by displaying constant tweets at the bottom of the screen from viewers, encouraging people to tweet and tick off “appear on TV” on their bucket lists. Other programs just display a hastag at the bottom of the screen and let people interact with each other and share their thoughts throughout the show.

However, before television started utilising Twitter there was still an online conversation happening, as live blogging television shows or films on blogging sites such as Tumblr or WordPress has been quite popular over the years without any encouragement from the media. Live blogging is very similar to how Twitter is currently being used as it allows people to write and express their opinions and join conversations by using tags. Television has taken yet another step up in the social media world by introducing apps to expand on their audience, no longer are you required to have a twitter account to join in on the conversation.

There are already multiple apps designed for audiences to interact with the show as well as each other, some examples are, Jump-In, Zeebox and Fango. These apps are able to add a completely new level to the show by offering extra photos, interviews and polls while still allowing for the social element of interacting and sharing with others.

The audience is always looking for more, more information, more interaction and more communication and the internet, as well as portable devices, has allowed for this through the interaction on apps and websites such as Twitter. It is almost impossible to imagine where we could go from here but as technology and society evolves as do our ways in which we interact with one another.

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