Last night, while watching the premiere of the new season of Food Network’s “Chopped: All-Stars,” I noticed something at the top left corner of the television screen. That something turned out to be a Twitter hashtag for the show, #Chopped. This sparked my interest because seeing that hashtag displayed on the screen showed me how much television was embracing new forms of social media to help promote shows, bring fans of the show together, and have a direct channel for viewers’ opinions. Having the #Chopped hashtag in clear sight encouraged viewers of the show to voice their opinions of the chefs while the show was airing, through Twitter. The “Chopped” judges also shared some input by tweeting with the #Chopped hashtag. In addition, Food Network’s own Twitter account, @FoodNetwork, posted tweets about the show, including cooking tips that the chefs shared, so that viewers could apply these tips to their own cooking.
“Chopped” isn’t the only show that’s embraced social media, however. Another show that has become big on Twitter is one of NBC’s hottest shows, “The Voice.” “The Voice” encourages their viewers to share their thoughts and promote the show via the show hashtag, #TheVoice. While the show airs, a small red bar at the bottom of the television screen is displayed, which features the show hashtag in addition to live tweets from show viewers. Through the show hashtag, viewers of “The Voice” can share their opinions on the singers and the judge’s choices on eliminating and keeping singers in the show. Additionally, the judges themselves share opinions on the singers’ performances by tweeting with the show hashtag.
Although it is no secret that many more television shows have begun embracing Twitter to help promote themselves, “The Voice” and “Chopped” are just a few instances that demonstrate this new merging of different media. Rather than being at odds with each other, television and social media are perfect compliments that both promote the television shows and encourage use of the social media site. Twitter is providing a way to connect viewers and fans to the show in a way that television cannot. Through using the Twitter hashtags, viewers do not need to know the television stars personally to be able to share thoughts on a show. Twitter hashtags provide a way to connect both fans and television show stars alike, and with television show hashtags being taken by storm, viewers now have a means to become a much more influential force in their favorite television shows. How cool is it to have a direct channel where everybody can see your own opinions on a show being viewed by millions? Through Twitter, viewers are being connected to their favorite shows in a way that can elicit real responses. With more and more viewers tweeting about television shows and using the show hashtags, more Twitter users are catching on to these shows, thus increasing ratings and getting more people talking about those shows. With more and more shows encouraging their viewers to tweet, devoted fans are adopting Twitter to help support their favorite shows. By taking the best features of these two forms of media, social media and television are creating a unique, innovative way to connect their viewers. These two forms of media are merging, and this merging of media is creating a wide range of possibilities for social media, television, and the fans and users of each medium.