A Social/Mobile/Digital Night with My TV
Last night I started watching television with the intent to keep a curious eye out for mentions/presence/character behavior relating to social media and/or the role of digital and mobile communication. It wasn’t long before I realized I was “missing” a lot of examples, but it wasn’t so much that I wasn’t paying attention as it was that what I was seeing has become so routine. Ordinary.
The Evening Began With...
Flipping, I caught that Jeopardy had a “Blog” category. Well, here’s a category that probably hasn’t been around more than a couple of years. I was wrong. That category appeared at least as early as 2004, as a quick internet search turned up here.
Flipping again, I noticed I don’t even blink when a company’s TV commercial directs me to visit their Facebook page – I almost missed a Dr. Scholl’s TV spot voiceover telling me to visit their Facebook page for a $3 coupon (click on the “Challenge” tab if you really want that coupon - I had to poke around to find it).
Of course, most of last night’s commercial breaks were loaded with previews for this weekend’s opening of “The Social Network” - a film about the founders of Facebook, and just about as “social” as you can get.
And Eased into Primetime...
I watched the premiere of ABC’s No Ordinary Family, (one of many new shows premiering this month) to find the family’s daughter so intent on texting she had no time to toss a football with her dad. The stereotypical "texting teen" character has been around so long now it just slides under the radar. What DID register was a comment the character made to her mom when asked about who she was dating. “Just because you Twitter-Spy me doesn’t mean that you know everything about my life.” And I probably only caught that because female teens aren’t a key demographic that jumps to mind for me when talking about Twitter users - they're more likely to be using Facebook.
Later on in the evening I moved on to FX’s Sons of Anarchy - I’m not sure how I’ve gotten attached to this show but I am – to find that cell phone communication was not only central to facilitating the storyline, it was a critical part of the storyline itself. I briefly smiled when I imagined how the story might have been different if every character had been forced to communicate on a landline.
Wrapping Up the Evening...
A scan of the local late news broadcast, and I was assured by the anchor I could follow the show on Twitter or visit their Facebook page to stay on top of current events. I was politely reminded I could also visit their website and sign up for email or text alerts. Nothing out of the ordinary here.
I ended my evening with The Weather Channel and was encouraged to sign up for severe weather alerts, visit their social accounts, text, follow, blah blah blah. Nothing new here, either. A quick trip to their website and I found a page actually called “Why Tweet Significant Weather Reports.” (the answer? “Because you can save lives.”).
I couldn’t imagine how many more examples there must have been during my quiet little evening – examples of how truly embedded everything social, digital and mobile have become. Examples I didn’t catch because they’re now simply part of everyday life.
…But just then I was distracted by a message my mom sent me on my phone. She wanted to know if I’d heard my brother was going to be in a movie. She’d seen it on his Facebook page...
(Shaun Amanda Herrmann)