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Tweet. Like. Share. How Social Media Is Making TV Better

By Kara Matuszewski, CBS Boston Web Producer
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Family Week

(Credit: AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Eric Brady)

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Guilty Pleasures

BOSTON (CBS) — Grab the remote and a laptop or smartphone. That’s how many more Americans are now watching TV.

While some believe television will go away and be replaced by something else, namely internet video, the television still plays a role in families’ lives, Mike Proulx of Hill Holiday argues. “Although television may be a little flatter, it’s wider, it’s interactive, and it has much better resolution, television today is still at the center of our living rooms,” he said.

Proulx talked about how TV is “getting social” at Radian6’s Social 2011 User Conference in Boston. His examples included how many people used Twitter while watching MTV’s VMAs last year and the realtime corresponding conversation being posted on the iPad app for the Kennedy miniseries that’s currently airing on Reelz Channel.

Proulx says there are multiple ways people are linking their television watching with their social media interactions. There are more people commenting on shows on their Facebook pages, using applications like GetGlue in which viewers “check in” to whatever show they’re watching, and posting updates to their Twitter account about the shows they’re watching.

Mike Proulx shares a video he put together about “Social TV”

But what does this do for the shows, the people producing them and advertisers?

“It’s the Holy Grail for content creators,” Proulx said, going on to say that it provides instant feedback. Producers can tell which jokes worked, or which story lines resonate with viewers. They can also see how much resonance the show has hours, or even days later, Proulx said.

For advertisers it’s the same idea. In 2006, Liberty Mutual launched an ad in which people are seen “paying it forward,” seeing someone help another and then doing the same for someone else. Proulx said after the ad launched then the company received a letter from someone who saw it with a check inside in order for the company to “produce more ads like that one.” In 2009, the company launched the same ad and instead of receiving a letter in the mail, they were able to watch realtime reaction to it from people posting on Twitter.

The same happened, he said during this year’s Super Bowl. Advertisers were able to watch social media updates and see which ads people liked and didn’t like. He also pointed out that although Chrysler was declared the winner in the BrandBowl, a gauge of how well Super Bowl ads did based on tweets and sentiment of those tweets, a study sponsored by Radian 6, Mullen and boston.com, the day after the Super Bowl it was the Volkswagen commercial that was tracking higher because the resonance was higher.

“TV is not dying. It is changing and getting better. The content benefits from realtime insights,” he said.

He believes that as more people use social media and continue to watch television, the interactivity between the two will only become more pronounced.

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