For a long time I’ve thought that I couldn’t get behind the second screen experience. I’m very invested in my TV shows, so the idea of looking away even for a minute to be distracted from what could potentially be critical information was horrifying to me. Lately though, I’m starting to come around.
Second screen has sort of become a verb, but can also be refered to as Social TV. What it means is that while you’re watching TV (preferably live), you as a viewer have a second device open – usually a tablet or smart phone, sometimes a laptop or desktop – through which you’re following along on social media.
For me, this means I’m tweeting my way through Fringe as I watch it on Netflix and letting my favorite MasterChef contestants know that I’m rooting for them, but the phrase refers to much more than that. Using Get Glue to check in to TV shows (live or rewatching), tweeting at people involved in the show or movie you’re watching, and checking out the other, live-feed cameras on the Oscar’s red carpet are all second screen experiences.
I’d hardly consider myself a professional, but I’ve learned a lot in the past few weeks of second screening.
Use Hashtags! Some shows use episode specific hashtags for people watching live (watch along the bottom of the screen for #___), but if there’s not one then you can just hashtag the show. Fringe is #fringe or #fringeonFOX. Masterchef is #masterchef. It’s usually just the name of the show with a # sign in front of it. Sometimes there will be hashtags for things within the show, like rooting for a specific contestant or plotline, you’ll learn more about the show you’re watching by following the hashtags. By including these tags in your tweets, other people can find your opinions and tweet back at you.
Respond to others. If you’re following the hashtags you’re using (search them in the search bar), then you’ll see other people also talking about what’s happening. This is usually the most prevalent when watching live. Interacting with other fans while watching the show is one of the most rewarding parts of the second screen experience.
Be nice. It’s simply unnecessary to be rude to people on Social Media. Don’t say anything about the actors, plot lines, or contestants that you wouldn’t say to them in real life. Because fact is, nearly everyone and their mother is on twitter these days so you might be saying it to them indirectly.
Have fun! Social Media is used for lots of serious things like spreading news and starting revolutions. Which is all well and good, but it can also be a fun way to be more actively engaged in what you’re watching, and maybe even make a few friends along the way.
Do you second screen? What shows do you engage with?