A few nights ago I was watching Conan, the late night show with the ever funny and very Irish host Conan O’Brien. On that particular show the featured guests were Alexander Skarsgard -- better known as Eric, the seductive vampire on HBO’s True Blood -- and George R.R. Martin, the author of Game of Thrones and the inspiration behind the dramatic HBO series.
At first I thought nothing of it, just two HBO stars on a talk show. Completely normal, right? Maybe, but is it not humorous that this television talk show was dedicated to talking about other television shows?
It’s not specific to this particular night, either. Almost every guest Conan features is some sort of movie or television star, and each show they discuss and laugh about the guest’s role in a show or movie. O’Brien literally makes money with a TV show about other TV shows. Genius.
It goes beyond Conan, though. Jimmy Fallon, Jay Leno, and David Letterman all host very similar shows. Okay, if we’re being honest, they host the same show with the same guests. The only difference is they have different names and are featured on different networks.
But why are there so many talk shows who talk about the same things with the same guests? Well, they’re successful. Why are they successful? Because people love to talk about the their favorite shows.
But it even goes beyond talk shows.
Thanks to social media, fans can chat live on Twitter with actors or give instant feedback on Facebook while watching their episode of choice.
For instance, The Walking Dead has one million Twitter followers and over 15 million Facebook fans. They have online Walking Dead games. They even have a TV show called The Talking Dead, airing directly after each episode of The Walking Dead. It is promoted during commercials of The Walking Dead -- which is also when the clever conversational Twitter hashtags for the week are introduced -- and is dedicated to discussing the events of the latest episode.
So why all this hype about TV shows?
Why interact with TV shows while watching the TV show and watch TV shows about those TV shows? (Woah, all this TV is getting confusing).
It’s because now, we can. Everyone has their favorite series, so if social media allows people to personally interact with those shows, why wouldn’t they?
Social media creates a new hype around television shows (not to mention everything else in the world). They’re no longer just TV shows and people no longer sit down for just sixty minutes to watch, then turn it off and move on with their lives.
Social media has changed all that. It has created a social conversation about social television. It allows people to be as involved as they want in their favorite fantasies and gives people an escape from reality. Or it makes the show their reality, depending on just how involved they become.
The evolution of television to social television is yet another example of how social media has changed our everyday interactions, even creating conversation with TV stars who, in the past, seemed so far out of our reach. People no longer have to wait until the next day at work to discuss their favorite shows, they can talk while they watch. The conversation even continues after the show is over on other shows dedicated to their favorites. I could go on forever, but I’ll end here in hopes of not cutting too much into your favorite show.
Author: Piper Donnelly is our Summer Editor, Word-Smith and Communications Connoisseur here at Verge Pipe Media. Verge Pipe Media assists public institutions, enterprises and the non-profit sector with Imaginative Inbound Marketing strategies + campaigns. We also have a development team chock full of Marvelous Mobile Migrators, poised to help transition our clients into a mobile + social world with custom software, iOS and Android mobile apps.
Photo Credit: http://www.onextrapixel.com/2012/09/04/freebies-television-social-media-icons-set/