Last year at this time, I didn't care about Twitter. I had no idea that it would invade my life, become the unintended source of breaking news stories, and that I would be debating the merits of this borderline-annoying social media tool to just about anyone who listened. You could even say I am Twitter's unofficial spokeswoman (hear that Biz? Evan? I accept all forms of payment). But I never, ever thought that Twitter would act as a bridge between live television programming and online communities. Yes, I wrote about this last week, and again, those who remain Twitter-averse (heathens!) might roll their eyes, but the response to that article was overwhelming. People reached out to me on Twitter (natch), mostly Bones fans; people who were graciously thankful that I highlighted their concerned efforts to publicly rejoice in a beloved show. Twitter acts as a forum for these people to express their borderline obsession to the mainstream. Yes, at this point in time, Twitter is definitely mainstream. We can all thank the likes of Ashton Kutcher and Oprah for that.
I firmly believe that Twitter isn't going anywhere for a while. I might have been a "trend forecaster" in a previous job so I'd suggest you listen to me. (Or not. There's a good chance I could be wrong. I said previous job.) Social media blew up during last year's election, and as news outlets and reporters sat on the forefront of the trend, it didn't take long for the networks to follow suit. Twitter commentary is all over TV, from cast tweets during an episode of a show (a la the "tweetpeats" of Glee and Fringe), to news segments devoted to Twitter buzz.
Since I missed the Emmys this year, I spent some time the morning after catching up on all the Emmy-related buzz with various YouTube clips of red carpet interviews and segments from the show. It might seem a little sacrilegious that a self-proclaimed TV aficionado chooses to skip television's so-called "most important night of the year" but I had more pressing matters to tend to (like recovering from a Las Vegas-induced hangover, watching new series premieres on HBO, and obsessively catching up on my Google Reader). During the actual telecast (when it aired on the East Coast) I was able to track the awards show, thanks, yet again to my Twitter stream and Facebook news feed, the great pillars of social media that keep me in the loop and facilitate my efficiency. (At least, that's what I tell myself). This way I avoided commercials, boring acceptance speeches and the uncomfortable "In Memoriam" tribute (where apparently X-Files alum and Supernatural showrunner, Kim Manners, was embarrassingly omitted from the line-up. Poor form, Academy. But I digress...)
Anyway, in many of the red-carpet clips I watched, I noticed Twitter comments streaming on banners on the lower end of the screen, and in many cases, news hosts asked Twitter questions. Giuliana Rancic of E! News was dropping Twitter-bombs left and right, always sure to emphasize that Twitter questions came direct! From the fans!
That's right folks. Thanks to Twitter, our television watching experience is increasingly customizable and further integrated with our online persona. The world of TV is no longer a cold, distant, faraway and mysterious place. It can be reached in 140 characters or less. Tweet about your favorite show while you watch! Tell Giuliana you love her dress! Make a Mad Men avatar and then share it as your profile pic! Ask Geraldo if he'll ever shave that mustache! Commiserate with other fans on why Friday Night Lights is more deserving of any Emmy nomination than any other show on TV right now (I mean really!). It's about time serious TV fans had a place to be openly obsessed, so thank you social media. Geek is chic and nerds are cool and you can go ahead and profess your love from a mountain top for Dr. Who or Ghost Whisperer or whatever show it is you might be slightly embarrassed to admit watching. And when I say mountain top, I mean Twitter.
Yes, thanks to Twitter, it is now socially acceptable to be both an internet junkie and a TV addict. And this really works nicely in my favor.