Within the last two seasons of television I’ve witnessed an explosions of broadcast and network suggested Twitter #hashtags at the bottom of my TV screen. What was once a generally unobtrusive and simple hashtag (usually just a show’s name) has now become full sentences or even tweeting suggestions.
Just take a look at what appeared on the screen during the final musical number of last week’s episode of Glee:
Tweet your fave couple memories with…
#klaine, #brittana, #wemma and #finchel
In general I think its great that many TV fans and networks have embraced Twitter. If I happen to be watching live TV I enjoy the ability to participate in the Twittersphere watercooler discussion. Plus, just about every TV show has their own Twitter account and some networks even encourage actors and creators to live-tweet during new episodes.
So for TV addicts like myself, Twitter is a great way to enhance the TV watching experience, but I’m less enthused about the increased use of suggested hashtags. If you aren’t watching live TV, but happen to check Twitter during primetime, it isn’t hard to be spoiled. Also, it seems like an overt attempt at steering the online conversation by the TV network.
I understand network suggested Twitter hashtags provide shows with more opportunities to have trending topics (something The CW would be proud of) while also providing fans with a unifying hashtag to tweet with, but to me its the equivalent of using a laugh track – simultaneous distracting and irritating.
Don’t tell me when to laugh, just write a funny script. Same goes for tweeting, if an episode is good (or really bad) it will create its own buzz on Twitter. I don’t need a new hashtag for every scene, just let me watch the show and enjoy the topics of conversation that develop organically from the storyline and characters.
Not to mention the fact that I don’t need anything else taking up space on my TV screen. From the network logo to lower third graphics for upcoming shows, I think there is already enough going on. FOX does an alright job blending their hashtags into the background, but other networks like CBS haven’t learned to be as subtle. The CSI suggested hashtag from this season’s premier episode, #FindRussellsGranddaughter was impossible to ignore in its bold and bright white font.
So what do you think, how do you feel about the increased integration of Twitter hashtags into your TV shows?