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 🙂


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