Twitter builds TV
A funny thing has been happening with big TV events of late, says this story in Time magazine: they have been dramatically and conspicuously not dying. The 2010 Super Bowl was the most watched U.S. TV show ever, surpassing the finale of M*A*S*H. This year’s Olympics far outrated the 2006 Games. The Emmys, Grammys and Golden Globes all increased, and on March 7, about 41 million people watched the Oscars, 5 million more than last year. Along with the decline of evening-news, drama and sitcom ratings, the fall of water-cooler TV has been playing out for years. When that happens, you can try to make better TV. Or you can find a better water-cooler. Now we have the Twittercooler. Facebook, Twitter et al., it turns out, are perfect for watching big events in a virtual living room of dozens — or thousands — of your closest fellow couch potatoes. On TV alone, the Oscars show was the usual gala of stars, thank-yous and back-patting. On social-media platforms, it was a conversation about fashion (what is J. Lo wearing?), race (why do they cut to Morgan Freeman every time Precious wins an award?) and politics (Fox News paranoiac Glenn Beck tweeted that Avatar vs. The Hurt Locker was “an anti-US/human movie against an anti-US/Troops movie”). TV with Twitter is like an instant DVD commentary. TV’s Twittercooler dividend suggests one thing for old-media folks wrestling with the problem of new media: don’t look at it as a problem. Social media have turned the world into one big living room. The future belongs to those who pull up a chair. Read more.