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Twitter and TV: Hand in Hand

With the rise of Netflix, HBO Go, and Hulu, there has been skepticism that the television industry might be slowly dying.  Many people, including myself, prefer binge watching their favorite shows with little to no commercial interruptions and having the option to record and watch shows at their own convenience. It is hard not to feel a bit accomplished after emerging from a four hour binge watch of Orange is the New Black and thinking, “Yeah, I did it.”

However, even with these new obstacles, TV has managed to find a way to survive by pairing with social media platforms such as Twitter. This allows viewers to get closer to the action that is unfolding on the main screen in front of us.

Award shows have become one of the most popular events to live-tweet. Twitter users now have the ability to access an inside look at the stars pre-event preparations, before they are shown on network television. This allows fans to become more invested, expanding the award show beyond its original two-hour time frame into an all-day event. During the show, interviewers maintain engagement by using questions that are prompted by fan tweets. In many ways, a retweet from a blue-checked (verified) celebrity account has become the new autograph.

Fans have also started live tweeting numerous serial shows, such as Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder – all part of “Shondaland Thursday” nights on ABC. Not only has live tweeting built enormous communities on line that otherwise would not exist, but it also creates a vortex that sucks you into watching the show live.  You see, if you don’t watch the show live you can’t live tweet all your dramatic feelings about shocking events like SPOILER ALERT, Shonda killing off Derek Shepherd (seriously Shonda!?!?). Other shows like Pretty Little Liars even throw up hashtags during the juicy parts to get the Twitter conversation stirring.

If, like me, you qualify yourself as more of a reserved fan, you are still forced to watch shows live – or else avoid all forms of social media (which is borderline impossible), unless you want to be in serious danger of spoiling the episode for yourself. I mean how awful is it to find out your favorite character dies before you even get to watch it?? (Sorry, still bitter about McDreamy…)

In any case, TV is far from dead, and I give the medium a pat on the back for tapping into the modern communication psyche. According to Twitter Business, 80% of viewers have a second screen on hand while watching. By turning Twitter into a platform for opinions and observations with the show, the stars, and the other fans, one might argue that TV has become more relevant than ever.

~ Amy Blanchard, Summer Associate, The S3 Agency


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