Social media has changed pretty much everything - the way we interact with one another, how we get our news and information, and how much time we spend online on a daily basis. Don't get us wrong, we love social media and all the positive aspects of it. But it's definitely changed the way we live, and in some ways, it's taking away from experiences in our lives. Have you ever watched a TV show or movie and live-tweeted your viewing? If you haven't, you've probably followed along or at least seen tweets from people who do it. While it can be fun to share your immediate reactions to what's happening on your TV, live-tweeting during a show can actually make it less enjoyable and take away from your overall viewing experience, according to a new study. Not to mention, it kind of sucks to share spoilers in this day and age, when most people stream TV and movies and don't watch them live!
The study, published in the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, suggests that live-tweeting while watching a show actually reduces a viewer's ability to be transported into the plot and follow along with what;s happening in the show. Which makes sense! It's hard to pay close attention to something when you keep pulling your attention away to compose a tweet. Research shows that more than half of people between the ages of 18-24 use some sort of second screen while watching TV - a phone or iPad connected to social media, or their laptop logged into their social media sites. The study looked at responses from 230 college students, and participants had an average age of 19. All of the participants watched an episode of Friends, and were randomly assigned to two groups: the first group just watched the show, while the second group was tasked with sending at least five tweets during the duration of the show. When the show was over, participants filled out a questionnaire about their level of emotions, enjoyment, and "transportation" during the show.
By and large, the group who had to live-tweet during the show reported lower levels of enjoyment and fewer positive social emotions from the show, when compared to the group who just watched it without having to tweet. Interruptions, even voluntary ones, can disrupt your ability to enjoy a show and really immerse yourself in the plot. You could miss a funny line or key plot point. Or you're too distracted by trying to come up with a witty tweet to really appreciate what you're watching. So the lesson here is, if there's a show you're super excited about, put your phone down while you watch it and tweet your thoughts when you're done. But for the love of the TV gods, keep the spoilers to yourselves!