When was the last time you watched television and tweeted something about what you were watching during the show?
If you are like many twitter users, that answer is probably ranges from last night to last week.
My husband was the one to notice what I was doing, during the season premiere of the Bachelor earlier this winter. Not only was I watching the television show live, but I was following the hashtag and tweeting my thoughts about the many women along with the rest of my twitter stream. The same thing happened during the Golden Globes, Oprah’s Next Chapter when she visited J-P HRO in Haiti, the Super Bowl, shows like The Voice or Downtown Abbey, and the upcoming Oscars. I even followed along during San Remo, a recent Italian music festival, where opinions were not in short supply about the many contestants.
Not only did Rocket notice this turn of events, this new habit of watching television and live tweeting from my living room sofa, like I was at an event, but he questioned it. What was I doing? And the better question as far as he was concerned, why was I doing it?
I suppose it was the same question that I had when I first started tweeting and attending social media events. I will be honest, I was surprised at the constant tweeting. I did not fully understand why I needed to tweet with others when were in the SAME space. Clearly, this did not take long to get over. But when it comes to explaining why we do it, I have not fully developed a great reason.
Why We Tweet
We tweet out opinions and comments, soundbites of inspiration, and facts. We tweet with brands to show thanks and appreciation. We tweet instead of emailing with friends as a means to stay connected. But when it comes to tweeting while watching television? This habit has taken on a life of it’s own, that I would go as so far to say, has changed how people interact with television.
It is no longer about just watching the show. We are synthesizing, formulating opinions, and crafting messages to convey what we are watching. Sometimes we are even interacting with the show itself, with hashtags publicized by the channel. Bravo Top Chef is a prime example of this as they display the hashtags and twitter profiles throughout the programming. I will be honest and admit that there are even shows (The Bachelor being one) that I would not have watched if it were not for the lively twitter stream to engage me.
Tweeting during Television is Like a Twitter Party
In some respects, watching television and live tweeting about what you are watching is almost like an impromptu twitter party. No questions, no prizes. Just commentary. Sometimes snarky, sometimes emotional, always opinionated. The fact of the matter is that those who live tweet are essentially providing advertising for the television program or event, creating a conversation online reaching their entire list of followers instead of just the four or five at the water cooler.
The Future of Television Tweeting
Admittedly, there is a part of me that is so curious about the phenomena and the future of “Must Tweet TV.” TV stations, brands, and even sports teams are watching our tweets. As in, data is being collected that can be turned into info graphics or information used to decide on the worthiness of investments. We know that twitter conversations have been effective to help shape topics and opinions with brands, political questions, and social issues. But the idea that our television viewing could be shaped by this as well? Somehow I had not made that leap yet, until realizing that it is in fact the way of the future.
If you think about it, social media has changed how we consume information and life. It has changed our perception of near and far and made brands, companies, celebrities, and politicians just a tweet away. We tweet to be part of a community, to show satisfaction, to convey humor, to express frustration, and to get customer service. Or maybe, as is the case while tweeting during The Oscars or The Voice, we tweet because we can.
I suppose that the phenomena of live tweeting television should not surprise me. The consumption of social media becomes more and more pervasive every day with our daily lives. I suppose the interesting aspect of it all it the ambiguity of where it will all lead.
There is no doubt that the tweet to television connection has changed my television watching habits. What about you? Do you watch and tweet?