Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Will Social Media Save Television?

Another day is here, so there must be another 20 press releases on the importance of social media and the decline of traditional media.

Personally I am in both media camps. I am a big believer in the need for two way communication, in the power that social sites have when used in a strategic and well thought out way by a brand that understands its' own values and voice. I also think though, it is extremely naive and alarmist to talk about TV / Radio / Print as dying media.

If we want to see a sign of how well TV is doing, just look at social media. Look at the trending topics on Twitter at almost any point of any day, most of the top ten will be related to the programmes that are on TV at that very minute...

For example: Saturday evening, twitter is full of X Factor chat. Talking about the judges, the contestants, the good moments. During the world cup I watched most games alongside a twitter feed, I was tweeting as I watched the last England qualifying match.

How could this save TV? Well let's think about it for a minute...

TV is not interactive, the internet is; one reason why people keep expecting TV to decline, you can't get involved with it.

Except with mobile internet now a widespread commodity, you can. Every minute of every day, people are talking about the shows that are on our TV screens. TV has become indirectly conversational, indirectly interactive.

That flexibility in programming is available through online (you can view things whenever you want!!), but also through Sky Plus. Besides, what twitter has done is add lots of value in watching programmes at their allotted time. By watching on the dot you can partake in the discussion, react to events and news with others who are enjoying it. The Web 3.0 equivalent of the family sitting round Doctor Who. This is particularly the case with sporting events and contests where the result is full of contentious issues.

In essence, twitter and social sites are actually contributing to an increased relevance for TV. Adding value to an existing medium through a new medium. Funny how people often miss that.

So will Twitter save TV? No. Nothing is ever that simple. Funny how people often miss that too.

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