Digital Storytelling Post 4 – Conclusion

in conclusion, my research – discussed in my previous post – brought back some very mixed responses to my original question of if how television audiences use social media during and after watching television shows hinders or enhances the watching experience as a whole.

Although mixed, the main results discovered were this: it became apparent that the major form of audience participation on social media regarding the watching of television was live-tweeting and blogging and that although it may be a good way to be involved in the show and its fans it also is a very large source of spoilers for shows for many people. The ages of those involved in these social media activities were those from the ‘technology generation’. All this was unsurprising to me as I’m sure it also may not be a surprise to many others. And all up this led to many people stating that overall the audience participation online can hinder but also enhance the television watching experience.

Many people may have their opinion on this subject but it doesn’t look like audience participation is going anywhere any time soon, it’s just going to grow and grow, bigger and bigger the more technology advances. If interested to find out more about this topic perhaps reading this may be some use to you as it discusses social media and audience participation in regards to television.

Maybe one day the thoughts we have while watching our favourite shows will go straight from our minds onto our social media, cutting out the distraction of focusing on another device as well as our shows and spoilers will become a thing of the past, solving everybody’s worries of audience participation on social media while watching television and the medium can thrive and enhance the television watching experience rather than hinder.

Thanks for reading 🙂

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Digital Storytelling Post 3 – My Findings

To get a better idea of if how television audiences use social media during and after watching television shows hinders or enhances the watching experience as a whole. I posed a short survey online which was open for 2 weeks and it received 20 responses.

The first question I asked was the basic “Are you currently on any social media?” question to get a general feel of how many people were on different kinds of social media, more than one response was allowed. As imagined almost all respondents but surprisingly not all of them (92.86%) selected Facebook. The second most common medium of social media with 9 responses (64.29%) was Reddit and third was Twitter (50%). Instagram and Tumblr as well as an ‘other’ option were available and although some responses were for Instagram and Tumblr they were significantly less than the media mediums mentioned earlier. Also no one had any ‘other’ social media responses leading me to believe that these five social media platforms are the most common used by audiences presently. The three most popular responses evidently are all media platforms where it is quite easy for audience participation and all, especially Twitter, are used frequently in the kind of audience participation while watching television I was looking for.

I also discovered the age group that is most likely to participate online while in television watching situations is those in the age range of 19 – 22 years old, closely followed by those 23 – 26 years old. This is more than likely due to the fact that individuals who fall into these age ranges are of the ‘technology generation’ who have grown up with the ever changing technologies we have access to today and although they may have had their fair share of pink flip phones and dial-up internet, they all know how to use an IPhone without asking for help.

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Of these 20 people I then asked if they were a part of those who participate or use social media while watching television. Choices includes yes, no or sometimes for those who sometimes have something to say but also might not be as avid as some. Majority chose sometimes as their response with 4 responses each being ‘yes’ or ‘no’

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To get a better idea of the kinds of participation television audiences contributed to online the next question was a follow on from the last question and asked “if yes, in what ways do you contribute online” again choice of more than one answer was allowed. Four who answered no to the previous question did not have to answer. Out of the remaining 16 100% said they live-tweeted or blogged, 5 said the participated in discussion forums, 4 said fan theories and one said fan art. This again emphasised that live-tweeting and blogging is the most popular form of online audience participation

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Finally, the question “do you think that this contribution online during or after watching television hinders and enhances the overall watching experience and why?”. Between the three available responses ‘hinders’, ‘enhances’ or ‘sometimes both’. ‘hinders and ‘sometimes both’ received 8 responses each while enhances received 4 responses. Participants of the survey responses to the why factor of this question helped shared further light on way the felt about audience participation. Responses varied from “It’s a fun way to get involved and meet people who are big fans of the show like you” to “spoilers” to “it lets you give your opinion and also the opinions of others but this can be good or bad”. And as you can see opinions varied on whether overall audience participation during or after watching television hinders or enhances the watching experience and it was hard to make an overall conclusion to my original question.

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Stay tuned, final post coming soon! 🙂

Digital Storytelling Post 2 – What Have Other People Said?

In my last post I briefly touched on the rise in audience participation while watching television. This increase in audience participation has led to television creatives in the television industry to believe that the traditional television is in danger of becoming the second screen to other devices including IPhones, other smartphones, IPads and tablets, laptops etc. fearing that not only will people be participating in these shows through their other devices while watching and not truly paying attention in the way that they should – In the UK up to 60% of viewers are guilty of this and have some other kind device running while watching – but also that online streaming on these devices could become the way we all watch television in the future.

Although many kinds of audience participation occurs every day on the Internet, one of the most common forms that receives the most attention frequently and I will talk about most is live-tweeting or live blogging. This form of participation receives the most attention as these days many live entertainment shows are using and encouraging audiences to tweet about the show and showing these tweets on the screen as the show airs. This form of participation is also used frequently by actors, directors, producers etc. of television shows encouraging their audience to participate in the airing and with them during. Some shows that use this include, Pretty Little Liars, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones.

The Hollywood Reporter recently did a survey on some of the showrunners for a selection of television shows currently running, they were asked what it was like making content today and to finish the sentence “Live tweeting is…” Most showrunners felt that this was a positive thing for the overall watching experience, enhancing it. Some of the answers from show runners who felt it enhanced the experience included things like “A form of hubris that probably reaches fewer people than you think (unless you’re Shonda Rhimes), but that allows you to connect with your most passionate fans.” (Shaun Ryan), “A great place to connect with fans, share behind-the-scenes details, and find out all the things I’m doing wrong.” (Mark Goffman) and “Something I’ll never understand, since I watch TV in order to AVOID reading. But if they tell us it’s good for the show, then we’ll do it.” (Chris Harris)

However, a few of the showrunners had negative opinions on live tweeting hindering the experience these included things such as “Dangerous!” (Josh Berman), “Real time reviews and only painful if you’re human.” (Peter Lenkov) and “A garbage idea perpetuated by garbage people. Watch the show, enjoy the show. Twitter will still be there when you finish. “Unless my employers demand that I live tweet future episodes, in which case live tweeting is a grand idea and everyone should follow @jerslater.” (Jeremy Slater).

As you can see people have many opinions on this kind of audience participation, some positive and some negative. However, it seems at this stage that people’s biggest issue and hindrance with the watching experience when it comes to the example of live-tweeting and blogging is spoilers but this form of participation also enhance the watching experience by offering quick and easy ways to communicate with the other audiences. Although, live-tweeting is just one example, the same opinions at the moment apply to possibly 90% on all audience participation on social media these days when it comes to television. The only exclusion from this percentage seems to be content such as fan art.

Stay tuned, more to come 🙂

Digital Storytelling Post 1 – Introduction

Social media has been on the rise for years and these days more and more people are watching television shows whether they be live entertainment or the newest episode of Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead while simultaneously or afterwards interacting with content and creating content on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or Reddit. Because of this television has become something that audiences participate in rather than just sit back and watch. From live-tweeting (tweeting along with a show as it airs live) to crazy fan theories and fan art, the Internet is a big and scary place and it is full of all kinds of content just like this.

Audience participation during television shows has become so prominent in this day and age that the show Gogglebox is literally a television show where you watch other people watch television and give their opinions and you can also get involved by live-tweeting along with the show. Each episode of the show is then uploaded to the shows YouTube page for audiences to go back later and watch it again. To me this is quite surprising that this kind of television show is as popular as it is. Here’s a quick clip of the show in case you’re not sure what show I’m talking about. In the clip the participants of the show are watching and discussing the show Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

 

My curiosity of why people participate in these sorts of things and the huge more recent boom in audience participation is the reason I chose to research if how television audiences use social media during and after watching television shows hinders or enhances the watching experience as a whole for my Digital Storytelling Project.

I have chosen to present this project as a digital storytelling. Over four blog posts, including this one I will discuss what other people have said about this topic, my findings when I posed a survey to individuals and my final post will be a conclusion post wrapping it all up and reflecting on my results and overall what I found and what surprised me or I expected when conducting this research!

So stay tuned and watch this space, more to come! 🙂