Lately it seems like whenever you watch television show, you’ll see in one of the corners of the screen a hashtag that is being used to track the discussion of the show or the episode on Twitter.
Sometimes they’ll just be the name of the show, but, at least from my experience and the shows I watch, more often than not they will be tailored more towards the episode that is currently airing.
Take for example last week’s episode of Community, a criminally under watched show that’s part of NBC’s Thursday night lineup. In the episode, one of the characters, due to a misunderstanding, throws a Sophie B. Hawkins inspired dance to compete with the school’s Sadie Hawkins dance. The hashtag for the episode’s Twitter discussion was #SophieBHawkinsDance.
Because of the large number of fans tweeting using that hashtag, as well as the official Community Twitter, the hashtag eventually made its way onto the worldwide trending topics list that is seen on every user’s dashboard.
When someone sees it and clicks on it not knowing what it’s about, they will then be taken to the current discussion going on between the Community Twitter account and fans of the show, and in turn may get them to tune into the show sometime.
This is a great way of interacting with their audience and it creates a positive relationship between the two of them.
Twitter hashtags aren’t only used for scripted shows either. Late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon regularly uses them as part of his show, in a segment called “Late Night Hashtags.”
At the beginning of the week, Fallon provides viewers with a hashtag and encourages them to tweet the funniest or craziest thing relating to the hashtag. He then shares some of the best submissions later in the week. It’s a unique way of getting the fans involved with the show, and the results are often hilarious.
While television networks using social media, or more specifically Twitter, in this way may not gain them many new viewers, it shows that they are interested in what their audiences have to say and that they are paying attention.
Because of this, it encourages fans and viewers to actively participate each week and that creates a positive experience for both the fans and the network.