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Social TV rises with India’s World Cup win

When India won the World Cup in cricket on Saturday, it was an exciting moment for those tracking the latest in the world of internet. N Madhavan writes.

india Updated: Apr 03, 2011 22:28 IST
N Madhavan

When India won the World Cup in cricket on Saturday, it was an exciting moment for those tracking the latest in the world of internet.

A tweet on Twitter — the microblogging site — by Joy Das to his followers summed it up on Sunday. “U made this World Cup even more entertaining by connecting all of us together.”

The message, intended for those on Twitter, in a sense spelt out a new phenomenon in the world of technology-driven media, which I call “Social TV”

Now, social media, as we generally refer to blogs and social networking sites such as Twitter, Orkut and Facebook, have already risen, but their marriage with conventional media is giving rise to new trends that have social, cultural, economic and business implications.

It is a cultural revolution of sorts when people watch TV in their drawing rooms but chatter with people across the planet as if they were sitting right next to them.

This in turn can influence people to change their behaviour. For instance, you can switch channels on your remote because a Facebook friend suggested something or a tweet wanted you to check out something. This is shifting the power of choice and attention to the community at large and not necessarily old intermediaries such as news anchors and video jockeys.

As a result of this, viewing patterns may alter in the world of television. But that is not all. With online audio/video, be it a YouTube link or a media site file, being consumable at anytime, people are increasingly consuming multimedia content on the fly –on impulse.

With the coming of tablet computers and smartphones, people are – and will be – increasingly, always connected to a social network in some form or the other with a capacity to access audio, video or text content. This shows an emerging reality in which a dynamic movement of recommendations, comments and shared Web links will make the media an entirely new phenomenon.

Marketers have already caught on to the importance of “viral” spread of content. New software tools are emerging to measure and make use of new behaviour. Social TV is redefining the frontiers of media.