As you may have seen this morning, The Weather Channel has launched one of the most progressive social TV initiatives to date in partnership with Twitter. And if you read the fine print, you may have noticed we at Wiredset and Trendrr were able to play a role in this innovative collaboration. While we can let the press release and coverage speak for itself, we figured it’s worth providing some context to what we think is an important step in the evolution of tightly coupled social television. See below, a few observations.
We will followthis with a second post on the technical aspects of turning real-time conversations into tightly coupled social TV productions.
First, an observation — informing news via real-time social intelligence is a powerful shift (that remains in its infancy).
Clearly, news programs are integrating social networking in broadcasts as a platform for viewer interaction, but news agencies are just beginning to tap into social intelligence as a means to drive real time reporting and listening. The Weather Channel takes listening and reporting to an entirely new level by leveraging the social channel and participation of its audience in real-time to achieve:
- Compelling integrated social user experience
- Better on the ground reporting
- Real-time (web/apps/on-air) updates
- Improve SEO (by having real-time changing content and context)
- Unlocking the value of the Twitter fire hose
For news media the challenge is how to handle the volume and velocity and turn noise to a signal and context that makes Twitter in this case actionable.
With The Weather Channel’s initiative, we see social data evolve into an actionable state. This goes beyond art-project or colorful data visualization. In this case, social streams become a utility and an important new programming layer—something other TV networks can learn from.
Social data is becoming increasingly contextual and useful, evolving from a mass of user outreach to a more effective communicative medium, adding an important news-programming layer. We expect all news to be informed by its audience in some manner over the next few years. We have already seen integration into political coverage (think Obama’s Twitter campaign re: the debt ceiling vote) and one-off events (that guy in Abbottabad who inadvertently live-tweeted the bin Laden mission), but now we are seeing the next generation of data as content that informs broadcasts in real time to enrich the user experience across devices.