The ‘Viewertariat’ (Anstead and O’Loughlin, 2011)

In their article ‘The Emerging Viewertariat and BBC Question Time: Television Debate and Real-Time Commenting Online’, Nick Anstead and Ben O’Loughlin state that:

…viewers can share their views on a television broadcast while it occurs, and debate content and interpretation in real time. We term this phenomenon the emergence of the viewertariat, which we define as viewers who use online publishing platforms and social tools to interpret, publicly comment on, and debate a television broadcast while they are watching it. The viewertariat is an example of media hybridity, meaning a blurring of old and new processes to form new systems and practices (2011: 441).

As explained about it above, twitter is a new way to follow what the audience is responding to television shows, as they are running live providing an exclusive sneak peak from individuals’ political opinions and enthusiasms, according to the research by Anstead and O’Loughlin.

Just like online Journalism, people can share opinions on twitter and it is almost as if they are having a debate at the same time while the TV show is running. It changes the TV consumption/viewing, as more people can get involved, whereas in traditional ways they would just watch the programme without exchanging opinions with hundreds and thousands of different people. The reason for the use of twitter being so popular on opinion sharing is because people want to use the tools they are given. Nowadays with media convergence and transmedia people can have the information they want with just a click so what stops them from creating a conversation or a debate just as they would if people were around them at the time of the broadcast.

“There is the potential for viewers who aren’t part of the studio audience to participate in these televised political events, though broadcasters must be wary of the usual token gestures where they say “email us your opinion” just to fill time. This will force broadcasters to think about what meaningful participation would look like.” (Anstead, Nick and Ben O’Loughlin , 2011) It is also a way for TV presenters to pass out information that the audience requires that didn’t think of in advance. It is like a live conversation between the spectators and the presenters.

I have to admit that I no longer watch TV, I only access any information I want via Twitter and Facebook as I believe it is more clear and I get a lot of opinions. I created a critical mind and I am not accepting whatever is presented to me. By reading through other people’s opinions I form my own as well.

 

References

Anstead, Nick and Ben O’Loughlin (2011) ‘The Emerging Viewertariat and BBC Question Time: Television Debate and Real-Time Commenting Online’ in The International Journal of Press/Politics, Volume 16, Number 4, pp440-462.

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