Digital Water Cooler Talk

SPOILER ALERT: Fans who aren’t up to date on their favorite show may want to avoid social media as the show airs. Viewers today are embracing second screen technology to enhance their viewing experience in real-time via smartphones and tablets. Recent research showed that four out of 10 U.S. TV viewers are checking into social media while watching television.

Fans are taking to Twitter and other social media platforms to express their opinions and discuss plot developments with friends, fans and sometimes even shows’ stars. Social media provides viewers an instant platform for interaction with their favorite programs and, in the case of “Hawaii 5-0,”choose the ending of an episode via Twitter.

Keeping up with what friends are watching, is now easier than ever for Netflix users. With a new optional Facebook integration feature, users can check out the shows that friends who have registered to use the service are watching and recommended. Personalized endorsements from friends allow users to discover programs they might not otherwise view.  

Not only are social conversations around television shows influencing a network’s decision to save or cancel a show, they are changing the way television ratings are measured. In the upcoming fall 2013 television season, Nielsen plans to partner with Twitter to release a new rating system that will combine traditional ratings with social media metrics.

Whether it is the elimination of a contestant on a reality show, a shocking plot twist or a newly discovered show, viewers no longer need to wait until the next morning, or even a commercial break, to chat about what they watched thanks to second screen technology.