Linking the two screens: from TV to Twitter

This week the TV show Bones returned from its Christmas break. It’s one of those shows that has embraced social media, showing on each episode the Bones hashtag to guide the Twitter conversation into a common place. This allows the producers to monitor what the audience is saying about their work, and it makes it easier for the show to appear as a Trending Topic. It’s a promotion tool that is easy and free, plus the little sign doesn’t really bother anyone because we are already used to have the broadcast channel logo on-screen. They also participate in the live conversation from @BONESonFOX, for which using a hashtag helps them reach an audience larger than their followers base.

But after the Christmas break they played a really smart move, and changed the common, plain hashtag to something more engaging: #bonesisback.


It’s more dynamic than the common hashtags, better linked to the now and here of the episode, meaning it actually promotes the real-time conversation. It won’t work for next week’s episode, but that doesn’t matter: it has done its job and there will be another hashtag to use. This simple change proves that whoever is in charge of the social media buzz for the show is listening and understands their audience: this week the episode could have been better or worse, but what was really important for the fans was that the show was back:


I would like to see TV channels doing something similar in sports. Lets say Leo Messi scores an incredible goal, Dwyane Wade and Lebron James do a mind blowing alley-oop, Juan Carlos Navarro breaks Barcelona’s total score record during the next game, or for some random reason James Reimer scores a goal for the Maple Leafs. Those would all be great moments that would go viral and generate tons of comments, so if the broadcaster is fast enough to catch it and show a little message along the lines of “wow, that was incredible! #MessiGoal” the audience would probably fall for it. I hope to see a lot of this during the next Olympics, allowing fans to find a common place to talk to other fans from all over the world about what they are all watching at the same time, whether it is football, gymnastics, track and field, tennis or any other discipline.

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