It seems like everywhere you turn these days someone is either talking about Twitter, writing an article about Twitter, or tweeting themselves. But just when you think you’ve seen tweets in every form possible, Fox takes twitter to the small screen.
That’s right, tweets were added on-screen on the network’s reruns of its supernatural drama, “Fringe” this past Thursday night. The tweets were from executive producers Jeff Pinkner, (Twitter name– @JPFringe) and J.H. Wyman (Twitter name–@JWFringe), and cast members Peter Bishop (@peterbishop2) and John Noble (@labdad1), and ran throughout the show on the bottom third of the screen. The tweets started less than ten minutes into the broadcast and to avoid any standards violations, the tweets were filtered by network censors before they reached the air.
During the Thursday Fringe Broadcast, actors and producers would respond to fan questions and the entire discussion could also be followed online on Twitter. Sometimes they simply spoke amongst themselves, but more than anything, they attempted to give the kind of behind-the-scenes look typically only gleaned through DVD commentaries.
Here’s an example of one of Wyman’s Tweets: “The dead bodies and victims on Fringe are always fun to think of. The creepier the better. Always LOVE to freak people out.”
Joe Earley, Fox’s executive vice president of marketing and communications said that depending on how fans respond, the network might add tweets to future repeats but this would never be done for an original episode.
So what does this all mean? The network tweets are clearly Fox’s grandiose attempt to get viewers to watch reruns of their shows, trying spinning something old, as, well, new. That said, if the tactic works, this could usher in the next generation of watching television. Perhaps even more interesting, these tweets could give viewers the most interactive experience ever made possible while watching television.
Would tweets on reruns compel me to watch a show? Maybe. More than likely, it would probably convince me to watch a show I already like, rather than compel me to watch a new show I’ve never seen. That said, this tweeting experiment seems to be giving us a preview if you will, into the new mediums social media is beginning to infiltrate. While the future of all this is still unclear, I look forward to sitting back and watching the show.