Thursday, February 2, 2012

Triangle Social Media Club Hosts Panel Discussion on Social TV

The day is winding down and I have a few minutes to reflect on events from the Triangle Social Media Club panel discussion on Social TV, which took place at the NBC-17 studio in Raleigh, North Carolina.

In thinking back over the course of the evening, I am humbled by the opportunity to serve with the likes of Gregory Ng, Ryan Boyles, and Tim Arthur, all of whom are really great guys to know.

What Is Social TV?
The term "Social TV," as I understand it, refers to modern televisions that allow viewers to engage with other viewers through social networks and their related applications. While the word strongly suggests advancements in television technology, I believe it also encompasses the regular use of mobile and web applications during television consumption.

To help you understand what I mean, let me give you an example. Let's assume that you're watching the American Idol on FOX. Instead of just watching the show, you jump on Twitter or Facebook and hold discussions about the contestants. This common occurrence is not limited to Twitter or Facebook. In fact, being social while watching television may involve a number of other popular networks and applications. Some of the tools discussed last night include:

From a general point of view, these applications allow viewers to check-in to a show or movie, exchange opinions about what they're watching, or engage with the digital content to learn more about its cast, characters, and behind-the-scene details. As some would describe it, the tools provide a virtual water cooler.

Here Come The Marketers
During our discussion, I believe it was Ryan Boyles who first spoke about the divide between consumers and marketers. Social TV, to the viewer, is just a fun way to watch shows; however, to the marketer it is a way to increase brand awareness and loyalty.

Earlier, I mentioned that viewers could check-in to a show or watch bonus material by way of the mobile and web apps. Well, marketers are hoping that we'll use these tools to spread the word and increase consumption. According to Tim Arthur, we are and he referenced a Superbowl advertisement about Ferris Bueller to prove it.

To Ryan, marketers are ruining the original purpose of these tools by encroaching in our private lives. Greg disagrees.  In fact, Greg supports marketing efforts and even shares some ideas on how to maximize the opportunity. To drive his point home, Greg spoke about the cable companies and their failure to capitalize on collected data. Why aren't they (cable companies) recommending shows to watch when they clearly know my viewing habits? Did I mention that also includes the Bachelor?

After The Show It's An After Party
While the event seemed to last for only a few minutes, we talked for an hour or more. During that time, we shared our favorite shows and showcased our various entertainment centers. Some of us chose to cut the cable cord while others fully embraced it. That wide spectrum of solutions offered an insightful discussion on viewing habits.

Overall, I think the panel discussion went well. If given the time, we could have easily explored the LCD vs. LED vs. Plasma debate as well as other closely related subjects. However, the night was getting late and many had return home in preparation for work in the morning.

For those that stuck around, we had the opportunity to tour the studio and learn how the station makes the magic happen. 

The most memorable moment was walking on the set and taking a picture in front of the green screen. While playing around, I saw Penn Holderness and the weather guy. Too bad Sharon Tazewell wasn't around because I would have paid money to get a picture with her. 

In Closing
Let me take a moment to give a quick shout out to my friend Wayne Sutton, who showed up in support of the meeting. Also, I'd like to thank NBC-17, Triangle Social Media Club, Lisa Sullivan, and all those who helped make that night a success. 


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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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