It has been said many times that social media is going to be the demise of television. That the old fashioned American family sitting around the TV with their dinner on trays to enjoy a Friday night program together is no longer alive. I tend to think the opposite – many top television programs (Glee or Dancing With the Stars for example) are consistently talked about and watched together by communities within the social network.
If television shows start embracing the relationship they have been given with social media, audiences will again be excited about their favorite shows. Having someone with you makes watching much more enjoyable; what’s the fun in watching Brad Womack choke on The Bachelor without your best friend and a bottle of wine? Social media communities such as Twitter and Facebook allow this relationship to thrive without boundaries. Communicating on The Bachelor’s Facebook page with other fanatics or logging into ABC’s website to chat with other viewers enhances the watching experience, and encourages more viewing during actual airtime.
In short, if television is worried that ratings are dropping because of new ways to see the programs, they need to embrace those new technologies and turn that relationship in a way that benefits them. Work with sites such as Hulu and Television Without Pity to enhance the viewer relationship!