Thursday, March 22, 2012

Social Media Makes Television Better

There was a time not so long ago when television network executives viewed social media as the enemy. It was threatening to steal precious eyeballs away from the all important prime time viewing slot and providing entertainment options that had never existed before.

Times change and even network executives can learn from their mistakes. That is what has given rise to shows which promote social media use rather than fight against it. Programs like "The Voice" and before that, "American Idol" have been successful at using American's social media attachment to their own benefit.

Today nearly every show on television has its own Facebook page; actors, producers, writers and just about everyone involved in creating television programming has a Twitter account or at least some social media presence. They leverage this social media presence into ratings, some better than others, but the potential for big wins has been proven over and over again.

Recent studies have shown that teenagers are turning more to the Internet, the Social Web in particular, instead of the television screen. But similar studies are showing that although teens are using social media during prime time viewing slots, they are also likely letting the television play in the background, and commenting with friends about the program they are both watching together.

This synergy of media is creating a boon for television, and providing a brick and mortar relevance for social media. Both sides are winning as viewers are consistently using one to promote the other, or at least sharing both simultaneously.

This type of thinking, that there is room for more than one form of electronic entertainment, is leading to ever greater technological abilities. Suddenly we are no longer faced with a "one or the other" mentality; new doors are opening up for us every day and new ways of thinking about entertainment are creating an abundance of new opportunities.

Social media then has begun not a replacement media, but a unifying force for all media. It has become the glue which binds us together and helps us become something greater.

Perhaps that's an oversimplification, or a "pie-in-the-sky" view of what is happening, but it's my view and I am sticking to it.


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