Those of us who frequent the Twittersphere will probably be familiar with hashtags and trending topics. These so-called memes seem to come and go almost before they’ve registered. But one phenomenon that seems to be growing more and more popular is the shared experience of tweeting while experiencing something else. Indeed, The Media Blog commented this week that the BBC seems to be getting in on the act, by promoting its own hashtags on screen during Have I Got News For You.
It was a truth in media planning circles a few years ago that the massive expansion of satellite TV channels, Video On Demand, iPlayer, Sky+ and other PVR systems would soon make advertising to mass audiences almost impossible, that the era of ‘appointment TV’ was a thing of the past. Back in the Day, soap operas like Coronation Street and Eastenders could command huge viewing figures with their plot climaxes. Indeed, I grew up with perhaps the defining appointment television, the Morecambe & Wise Christmas Shows during the 1970s. Along with Mike Yarwood (the sadly now fairly dated impressionist), they attracted almost 50% of the UK adult population. And with good reason: if you don’t laugh at how Andre Previn allows himself to be mocked, you have no soul.
I’m delighted to note that the shared experience of watching television or listening to the radio is still alive and well. Indeed, it’s enhanced by Twitter. The recent UK Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review would have been both tedious and largely incomprehensible without some fantastic commentary from journalists and news channels, and hilarious barbs from many bloggers and observers in the Liberal Twitterati. The pre-election debates, Reality TV, classy series like Sherlock Holmes and Madmen are all witness to this.
For me it reasserts my belief that we humans are social beings, that we are better together, when we learn from each other, build on each other’s ideas, and simply spark off each other to share an experience.
Now if only I can avoid the plot spoilers…