Social Media Hits The Small Screen

Wednesday, 06 February 2013

A few years ago, seeing a #hashtag at the end of a commercial prompted a lot of offline chatter, mostly saying “what the heck was that?” This year,  half of the Super Bowl commercials mentioned Twitter. Appearing so frequently during Super Bowl, also known as Advertiser Olympics, solidifies social media’s place in the world at large, perhaps more so than its inclusion in the dictionary a year and a half ago.

TV shows are also embracing social media, and not just the geeky programs either. Shows encourage real-time interaction through the use of #hashtags at key points throughout the episode. Pretty Little Liars, airing on ABC Family and aimed at teenage girls, superimposes #hashtags like #FitzFindsOut during pivotal scenes and posts exclusive content on its corresponding Facebook page. In fact, nearly every show on the network has its own dedicated social media pages aimed at increasing engagement online and viewership on TV.

Social media is a huge factor in many TV shows’ second screen strategy, and it’s paid off big. The added benefit is that more and more people outside of the social media geek community are now familiar with the term and know what they heck you’re talking about when you say you tweeted something. For the first time, I’m starting to feel like people know what I do when I say that I’m a social media manager.

What do you think? Is TV finally giving social media the respect it deserves? Is it changing the nature of online communities? I say yes, all of the above, and for the better.

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