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Transformations through Twitter: The England riots, television viewership and negotiations of power through media convergence

Bennett, Lucy 2012. Transformations through Twitter: The England riots, television viewership and negotiations of power through media convergence. Participations: The International Journal of Audience and Reception Studies 9 (2) , pp. 511-525.

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The growth and widespread use of social media is altering the viewing experience for some television audiences quite considerably. Viewers are increasingly integrating social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook into their TV-watching experience to collectively discuss programmes and live TV events as they happen. In sum, viewers are watching television with their laptops or mobile devices at hand, seemingly in an effort to transform their experience into a social, or community event (Makice, 2009). This paper will examine this growing intersecting media landscape of television and social media, considering the consequences of increased audience involvement within this convergence. Analysing the Twitter-led engagement of viewers of Channel 4’s 2011 Street Riots: The Live Debate, this study illustrates how Twitter is being used by television audiences and networks surrounding the live broadcast of a programme. I show how the viewing audience uses Twitter to express their views on issues within the debate and also on the show itself, the importance of “liveness” (Auslander 2008) and the extended tweeting audience, and how information and knowledge is circulated, in form of “collective intelligence” (Lévy, 1997). I argue that we can see these processes resulting in a change in viewership for many individuals, subsequently influencing the ways in which audience and programmes engage with each other.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Uncontrolled Keywords: convergence, engagement, social media, television audiences, Twitter
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2017 03:10

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