Channel surfing traditionally is not a social event. You sit there, remote
in hand, trying to find something that piques your interest. Unless you
invite some friends over to watch with you, the water cooler chitchat
the next day about who got dumped on Bachelorette is probably the extent
that it’s social.
Well, that’s changing. According to the American Time Use Survey released this past June by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American watches just less than 20 hours of TV each week. If that number sounds lower that it did in the past, that’s because Internet use continues to occupy more and more of our time. And since social networking dominates our time spent online, it’s no wonder that TV shows are finding new ways to make programming more social, and people are welcoming apps and sites to enhance their favorite shows. Here are five examples of how television is becoming more social.
tvChatter is a free iPhone app that displays real-time tweets with commentary about your most beloved programs. As you watch TV, launch the app on your phone and select the show you are presently watching. As the show progresses you can watch what the rest of Twitter is saying and thinking about the show. Another way to use this app is to see what you missed. If you aren’t DVRing everything, then you can catch up on missed episodes by seeing what other people had to say.
Philo is sort of like Foursquare for TV, but instead of checking in to locations, you tune in to shows. When you are watching your weekly addiction you can “tune in,” telling other users that you are watching the show. Once you’ve tuned in you, can comment on shows, and have conversations with other TV addicts. You can even share your conversation on Facebook and Twitter, and just like Foursquare, each check in earns you not a badge, but credits, so you can work your way off the casting couch and finally call yourself an “executive producer.”
TVLoop is an online community of over 16 million TV lovers. It’s a place where you can connect with other passionate fans and discuss all your favorite shows. You can also play games and take show-specific trivia challenges to see if you are really the knowledgeable fan you think you are. You can also find clips and photos from your favorite shows, along with full episode guides with the option for more commentary.