We’re currently in the midst of fall-television-premiere season. Both new programs and old favorites debuted throughout the past few days, and more shows will roll out over the next several weeks. One of the best parts of this surfeit of new episodes is the fact that it affords us an opportunity to discuss all of our favorite shows, characters, and plot lines with other people. I may like to watch these shows solo – settled on the couch with some snacks in hand – but I also have a fondness for chatting about season premieres with anyone and everyone around me, whether it’s admiring the narrative and creative genius of Parenthood, mulling over the sentimental turn the X Factor took during its season premiere (in which Simon Cowell proved that he does in fact have a heart filled with more than just cold concrete and cash by becoming uncharacteristically emotional after one of the contestants sang) , or venting over the frustration caused by the fact that Matthew Perry just won’t. stop. typecasting. himself.
Television has always had an inherent element of sociability, sparking high-school-homeroom conversations and water-cooler chats alike, but we no longer have to wait until the next morning to discuss episodes, because we have forums that allow us to broadcast our own personal television commentary and converse with fellow viewers. Hello, social media.
Social media and television are like two peas in a digital pod: viewers and stars of the small screen tweet and post about shows on Twitter and Facebook, live tweet new episodes, and post everything from pithy personal musings to witty repartee. These sites are composed of a connected network of tweet- and Facebook-happy TV watchers: mini communities composed of vocal, engaged, participatory users form around certain shows. Oftentimes, I think reading the various comments sent out by people regarding certain shows is the best part of watching that show. For instance, this single tweet was better than the entire hour-long X Factor premiere:
Social media figures so heavily into television that TV ratings are beginning to take social media into account: SocialDensity and Content Power Ratings both measure the “social impact” of television programs and “buzz” surrounding individual programs.
So, what are the specific ways in which we’re harnessing the power of social media and integrating it into our television-watching experiences? And, which shows are we talking about? Which shows gain the most comments and earn the right to wear the crown belonging to the “King of Social TV?”
Here’s a breakdown of social TV and the most buzz-worthy shows.