My Weird and Wonderful Conspiracy Theory

Honestly, it’ll be one you haven’t heard before. Hopefully.

So, we all know that in recent years, the ways in which consumers can consume TV has diversified, to say the least. The Leaders’ Debate is one of the first things I’ve watched even some of on actual live TV for a long time. With Sky+, TiVo, all the catch up channels, virtually limitless hard drive records, iTunes, iPlayer, 4oD and more, there’s hardly even time for live TV.

And so, the TV channels have fought back. They give us The Wire, every night, back to back. They give us live advertising offers, competitions closing in minutes to make us watch the ads. They give us (The) Eastenders – Live.

But no one thing in the history of television has encouraged so much live TV viewing as Twitter.

I have never seen anything like it. Every night there is varied discussion – usually around 3 to 4 shows are the main subject, live discussion and chat following the whole show. even on a slow night, journalists, editors and general in-crowd types are locked in extended streams of type about their chosen shows. And then there are the big event shows. The Leaders’ Debate – admittedly, I follow only a paltry 130 people. But every single one of them seems to be online, and tweeting about it.

Twitter is a strange thing. An internet phenomenon. It can fritter hours of an innocent person’s time, create friends and career opportunities. It is said it is now the most accurate means of predicting a film’s box office success, or a TV show’s viewing figures. Little wonder. Its reach and influence is enormous – and is hugely underrated by those who have not yet adopted it.

It creates a bizarre form of peer pressure. For those merely on there to follow celebrities, it offers a unique insight into their chosen idols’ viewpoints and opinions. Within seconds, tweets can reach millions.

I do not, as a general rule, watch a lot of live TV. But the more time I spend on Twitter, the more likely I am to start. The feeling of inclusion, of your comments being retweeted, of hoping that somehow something you say will catch the attention of someone you admire – it’s quite addictive. In a sad, I want to be noticed kind of a way. Which most of us are guilty of. We all want to be included, we all want to be part of the in-crowd. Such is the prevalence of TV in today’s society that perhaps just watching TV together with hundreds of thousands of other people – and talking about it – is enough to bring people together.

So – why was Twitter created? As a pure social networking tool with no ostensible commercial business model? Or as a means of monitoring public opinion, zeitgeist and media consumption?

I’m just saying…

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~ by DelightingintheDetail on April 15, 2010.

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