Tuesday August 06, 2013 | 09:00 AM
Posted by Rob Gould

All very good questions that I'll try to answer, with a great deal of help from my trusted resources. I promise there will be no discussion of the Housewives. I'm totally over them now anyway.

Social TV refers to technologies surrounding television that promote communication and social interaction related to program content. - Mashable

Social TV was named one of the 10 most important emerging technologies by the MIT Technology Review on Social TV in 2010. In 2011 MIT Technology Review followed up by publishing a cover story focused on the emergence of Social TV analytics and its applications in the TV advertising industry.

The concept of socializing around TV content is not new. Many of you will remember when this was done around the family TV. I don't, of course. I'm far too young. (whatever) But, I've been told there was a time, before the advent of multiple-screen households, where this was the norm. Families had one TV and everyone watched it together. Maybe even with some friends or neighbors thrown into the mix. When households began to have multiple televisions, people began to watch alone and that type of socializing ended. So sad.

Thankfully, social TV arrived and now we're all socializing again. Right?

Social TV first began in the early 2000s and was met with little success. It wasn't until the arrival of smartphones and social media that it really took off. It stands to reason as both of these technologies easily facilitate many sorts of communication. Social media encourages regular and rapid communication between members of a network and smartphones allow for multiple forms of communication (text, voice, photograph, video). 86 percent of Americans already use their smartphones while watching TV. Of course, most smartphones also provide access to social media, bringing the three together and thus setting the stage for social TV to take off.

Whether you realize it or not, most of us have already been exposed to social TV, both in TV programming and commercials. From Top Gear to CSPAN to American Idol to Glee, these are just a few of the shows that have integrated social elements. There is also lots of evidence out there indicating that social TV strongly amplifies TV advertising and engages consumers with brands at a much higher level. I suggest reading "The Rise of Social TV: How Social Media Is Amplifying TV Advertising," - Business Insider

I'd also suggest (just published today) "Nielsen Study: Higher Tweet Volume Drives TV Tune-In 29% of the Time" - AdAge

So, why is social TV important to your business? If your business advertises on TV, then social TV is already rapidly taking on importance. If not, well, then I would still recommend paying attention as it will be important for many more businesses as the future approaches. Or, you could just trust me that I think it's important. But, I wouldn't suggest that. I'm not very trustworthy. I'd just suggest paying attention to it all. I mean, it is kind of fascinating. With the introduction of new technologies like Google Glass, their impact on social TV is already expected to be great. See "This Is How a Star-Studded Awards Show Looks Through Google Glass" - Mashable

On a side note, Google Glass is just amazing. But, I don't know about wearing that thing around. I hope they'll be looking at different styles. Anyway ... sorry.

I'm going to leave you with some suggestions of more places you can go to learn about Social TV and your business.

Simon Dumenco, The Media Guy, AdAge, is an excellent resource. He's one of my favorites.

Mashable is always a great place to go for information on this topic.

Wired Magazine is also a great resource.



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Social media has changed the way that many of us learn, purchase, interact and explore the world around us. And, things are just getting started. Social, Social is a place to discuss social media with people from all walks of life. No experts allowed.

About the Author

Rob works as a digital marketing & public relations consultant to agencies, brands, and individuals. He has 20 years of marketing experience. He also currently serves in a volunteer capacity as director of pr/communications for TEDxDirigo. From 2005-2011, Rob served as director of social media & agency communications at The VIA Agency (Portland). Prior to VIA, Rob worked with several PR & advertising agencies in London & Boston. He is a graduate of The University of Vermont (UVM) and a Maine transplant (2002).

Follow Rob on Twitter at @bobbbyg

His real-life interests include art, travel, writing, design, psychology, the beach, & exercise (grudgingly at times).

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