Social TV

I first recognized the importance of texting when I realized it was the only way I could reach my teenage son. I discovered through a lot of trial and error that he couldn’t be bothered answering his cell phone, but that a text message would bring a rapid-fire response. I was also dismayed (I mean, enlightened) when his older sister gave him a congratulatory high five when he hit 3000 texts in a month.

Just last week a Boston daily newspaper ran a timely piece titled, “Mobile Madness Growing in Hub.” The article included a quote from a 17-year-old who admitted that she would be lost without her iPhone. Her favorite uses included transferring money into her bank account, looking up train schedules and using Google Maps for directions. She commented, “I once went for a day without it and it was the most painful day of my entire life.”

When my teenage son sits down to relax in front of the TV he is surrounded by technology: TV, laptop and cell phone. He’s watching, updating social media accounts and texting at the same time. He’s not alone. According to Nielsen, 57% of viewers are browsing the web while watching TV. Welcome the new and improved TV experience.


At it’s root, the experience refers to the integration of the web and other emerging technologies into the television experience and how this integration has helped to further personalize and socialize the medium.. For example TiVo has integrated web content and user control into their products (and vice versa) while social media platforms like MySpace have added TV streams to their sites.

With these trends in mind, if I were a TV executive now, I would take note to avoid being left on the sidelines. The future is clear for TV, mobile, the internet and all technologies: convergence. No more desk tops, mousses or dedicated pieces of technology. Users will continue to expect immediate information that, powered by connectivity, eventually becomes ubiquitous. As our real world and virtual worlds continue to meld, our social connections will expand further. Over time, the interests and social interactions that we consider our own, are destined to become part of a shared history.

Sage Peterson