Australia, we need to talk! Or so says the catch phrase of Channel Ten's latest and greatest attempt at investigative journalism: Can of Worms. Hosted by the sharp-tongued Ian "Dicko" Dickson (of Australian Idol fame), the program with a lot of 'balls, brain and heart' tackles such visceral topics as "should young women stop dressing so slutty?"
Whether you agree with the programming or not, there is a lot to like about Can of Worm's strategy, which seamlessly integrates an interactive component with new media to revert audiences back to real-time viewing.
If you've never encountered Can of Worms, it goes a little something like this: Dicko poses a question to the three panelists (made up of Australian 'celebrities'), and then to everyone at home. Viewers are invited to vote 'Yes' or 'No' via the website, comment on the Facebook fan page or tweet @CanofWormsTV with the appropriate hashtag. A mix of comments are streamed live on the TV as the panelists discuss. Then, research company Roy Morgan aggregates the results from the poll in real time to deduct final public opinion on the issue of contention.
So does this new media integration enhance or tarnish the viewer's experience? Well, television is often regarded as one of the last pillars of traditional media, and is considered to be a passive and often isolating form of message dissemination. So, with shows like Can of Worms encouraging social media engagement, TV watching is becoming more interactive and well, downright fun.
By expressing your opinions and contributing your own views to the program, you align with your peers to get a buzz going. It’s also a great way to connect with others with a shared interest. But most importantly, it gives you something to do during commercial breaks. So if you're one of those TV viewers who like to ramble on about Matt Preston’s cravat in the ad break to whoever will listen, you’re not alone.
Tips for tweeting your favourite show:
1. Use the specific hashtag to start a conversation;
2. Engage with others using the hashtag (yes, even strangers);
3. Keep it short and re-tweetable. This is your shot at 10 seconds of fame.
We want to know: do you comment via social media on your favourite prime time television show?