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Sunday 6 November 2011

Twitter And TV.

Last night, things finally came to a head.

What am i talking about? Well, here goes....

Why do some people insist on Tweeting about every single thing that happens in certain TV programs?
There, i said it!

I'm sure that this is a recent phenomenon, certainly here in the UK anyway?
Yes, i know that people have been Tweeting about TV progs, probably since Twitter was invented. But, not with the frequency that seems to have crept in recently.

In the UK, two programs seem to produce the biggest amount of related tweets. On a Saturday & Sunday evening we have the X-Factor and on a Sunday evening, following the X-Factor, we have Downton Abbey.
These two programs do have some of the biggest viewing figures. But, i'm not sure that that alone explains the amount of related tweets. And, yes, the X-Factor does encourage audience participation through voting. But, i don't think this explains it all either.

I'll admit that i have sometimes felt the need to post the odd Tweet during tv programs myself. But, the volume of Tweets during the above mentioned progs has to be seen to be believed sometimes. Some people are Tweeting, literally, every minute.

What i'd like to know is that if these people are spending so much time writing and posting Tweets, how much of the actual program are they seeing? And, if you're taking the time to watch a tv program in the first place, why not watch it instead of looking down at your phone, iPad, laptop etc?
Another aspect that intriques me is how many of the Tweets are not very complimentary about the program being watched. If you don't like the program, why on earth are you watching it?

I remember a time when the Internet was considered to be something of an escape, or even an alternative to tv. In many ways that is how i still view it. But, it's obvious that, for an increasing number of people, that is not now the case. The two worlds are combining and overlapping. Colliding even.
Of course, the situation is made all the worse when the tv programs being Tweeted about are ones that you have no interest in yourself.

Over the past few weekends i have often found myself turning off Twitter when these two tv progs are on. But, by doing that, i am then denying myself everything else that is going on in the Twittersphere.
Why should i do that?
So, i have now felt the need to take some drastic action and last night i 'Un-followed" two of the worst TV Tweeting offenders. Maybe it's my fault for following certain people in the first place? But, as with many things in life, you don't always know what you're letting yourself in for when you sign up!

Maybe the situation will get better when those two particular tv progs finish their run? But, i have a feeling that's not going to happen. Another show will, most probably, come along and grab the attention of the TV Tweeters.

I guess i'll just have to keep my finger poised over that "Un-follow" button for a while longer yet?


  1. I mostly agree. A notable exception being a certain friend who live-tweets a "reality" dating program that I can't stand to watch, but his tweets are hilarious.

    To make matters worse for us in the US, people on the east coast tweet out spoilers for us in the west. I have to be careful not to look at twitter before elimination shows (like X Factor) or awards shows, etc.

  2. When I'm watching Downton Abbey I'm completely absorbed. Of course I have my own thoughts about developments and characters but, as you say, to stop and write them out in a tweet would mean I'd miss something else (though I suppose if you're not enjoying the program you don't much care). Also, I'm not a happy multitasker; one thing at a time still feels like the most satisfactory way of doing things. I wonder if the TV tweeters are the same people who talk during movies in theatres?

    Somehow tweeting during sports events seems more acceptable. More sociable and less annoying. Perhaps that's because there are more interruptions in play and because the competitive nature of sports seems to invite comment.

    I can foresee a day when tweets about the e-book you're reading come crawling across the bottom of the page, continually yanking you out of the imaginative dream. *sigh*

  3. Ken: I guess we're lucky over here in that we don't have the time difference issue. I've seen that mentioned many times on Twitter & FB.
    Both sites can be real spoilers sometimes. A real unforseen consequence i'm sure?

  4. Dugal:If i watch a tv program i watch it because i want to & i want to enjoy it. As you say, you should be absorbed by what you watch.
    Good point about tv tweeters & those who talk in movie theatres. Add to that those who talk through gigs. That's another recent development.
    I also take your point about sporting events. Now you mention it, that's when i've tended to tweet the most whilst watching tv.
    I've just thought of another aspect to this, which may well end up provoking another blog post :)