Hashtag TV #

20 Mar

By Ian Kearney


Every day I see people on my Twitter feed ‘Hashtagging’ different programmes and telling us all what do or dont agree with, do or do not like and what they downright love or hate.

This all occurs as the programme goes out and in the case of live programming we get real-time feedback that could potentially swing the course of events if programme makers had their eye on Twitter and apparently they do.

Journalist Toby Young tweeted this interesting little snippet during the week…

Toby Young Tweet

Tweet by Toby Young

Although I could not confirm this with Newsnight Editor Peter Rippon I would almost certainly believe it. Social media is the perfect tool for programme editors to assess public perception and act accordingly to make their shows as successful as possible.

Twitter is ideal for this. The ability to Hashtag things and the limitation of characters gives short sharp snippets of what the public really think. Also unlike Facebook where someone is required to start a profile or fan-page (giving a sense of editorial intervention) Twitter Hashtags can be started by anyone and do not provide any direct link to an organisation giving them a sense of independence.

Viewer ratings have always been the traditional way of measuring public perception on television. The preface is simple, the more viewers your programme has the better it is. This means better advertising revenue (in the commercial market) and most importantly bragging rights.

Programme makers wait for the viewing numbers and then from there try to figure out what it was that the audience did and didn’t like and adjust the programme accordingly so that next time the show goes out they might attract more viewers or at least keep the ones they have.

This hashtagging business, while it wont give programme makers a sense of exactly how many people are watching their show, will give them the opportunity to survey the audience for free and independently.

So why, if Peter Rippon has this tool at his dispense, wouldn’t he use it. The same goes for all programme makers.

This wont make television ratings redundant but will certainly enrich the experience for viewers.

I am sure we will hear of more  hashtags in the gallery and maybe if we pay close enough attention to Twitter we might see a Tweet or two alter the course of a programme as we watch it.


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