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What are you watching?

September 27, 2011

     The idea of television linking into social media is an intriguing and innovative idea. If enough people are on board with it, it could really take off into something big. I found this article revealing the idea of a sort of television viewing “update” that can by synced with your friends TV and what they are watching (just like Facebook) on adweek.com. See the article here: http://www.adweek.com/news/television/facebook-pitches-social-tv-133092

Social Television

     I chose to discuss this article because almost everyone is addicted to their Facebook; if it is not Facebook, then it some other form of social media. Social networking sites are probably one of the most convenient and popular ways for people to stay in touch and stay involved with other people’s lives. This article reports that Andy Mitchell, Facebook’s SVP of Strategic Partner Development, pitched the idea of a sort of “social television guide.” While browsing through channels on your television, with this social media TV, you could see what your friends are watching at the same time. This will allow friends to share their television viewing preferences and experiences with one another in a quick and convenient way. Mitchell stated that “it’s really hard” to figure out what to watch out of 500 channels. The idea of knowing what exactly all of your friends are watching makes things a whole lot different.

     I think this feature on television would be really cool. A reader commented on the article with a good point; he said that many times he finds out about shows that his friends are watching once the season has already started, “after it [is] too late to tune in.” With this social television application, you could easily keep up to date on what your friends are into and stay in the know. This would also be good news for advertisers in allowing them to keep track of who their customers are and the things they are all interested in. If a certain group is watching this show, but also likes that show, they will then know another place to target their ads.

     A negative aspect about this social television experience would be the “creep factor” some people get with social media sites. I know a lot of people who are not comfortable with the social media world know when, where and what they are doing. Many people just don’t dig posting their life for all to see on the web. I feel many would have the same issues with this, even though it is just television.

     Social television will totally mesh the “online community citizenship” and other forms of media into one with people’s daily lives. People will feel more involved with their online friend’s by simply sitting at home and turning on the toob if they know someone else is sitting in their living room watching the same thing. This may also influence others to participate in something they normally wouldn’t (like watching a new TV show) if they know others are participating.

     As cool as that may be, having this kind of social interaction may also hinder those who rely heavily on “living” through sites like Facebook and other online community groups. They can easily develop a false sense of relationship if they see someone viewing the same shows as them. I imagine one who may be socially awkward feeling a connection with online friends because of this social TV that may not really be there. Then again, that may not be all bad if it makes the person happier in the long run.

     Technology is advancing so quickly, as well as societies usage and reliance upon social media, that this could go one of two ways…really bad or really good. It will be up to the users to decide how far we take the integration of social media and networks into our daily, personal lives.

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