TVX2014, or as a longer winded version, “ACM International Conference on Interactive Experiences for Television and Online Video 2014” was recently held in Newcastle, UK. Newcastle is the party capital of the UK (cue many arguments…), so it was a lively conference in a lively city!
Our long paper, “Disinhibited Abuse of Othered Communities by Second Screening Audiences” (links: eprints, ACM) was a look at how TV viewers treat participants and stars on TV shows. In particular it looked at how the TV show “Thelma’s Gypsy Girls” was commented upon by a second screening audience. We investigated the tweets that were posted during the show and that contained the “#thelmasgypsygirls” hashtag. When TV shows encourage a discussion of the content and issues that are broadcast through the showing of a hashtag on screen they have no control over that discussion. If it took place in the broadcast, or if the shows producers had some kind of ownership of that discussion then certain ethical and other guidelines must be adhered too. As it is, as the discussion takes place on a completely separate platform and the producers and broadcasters have no control or ownership of the that platform. The discussion falls through a loophole in the ethical guidelines governing broadcast TV and there is no control over it (apart from the platform guidelines, such as Twitter’s terms and conditions).
It seems strange that a TV show is encouraging discussion and debate over its content, yet it has no control over that debate. Freedom of speech and liberal censorship and libel laws allow these discussions to take place with only legal repercussions if the debate gets out of hand.
TV and Twitter are uneasy bed fellows. On one hand, Twitter sees TV and the discussions which take place around TV shows as vital to its growth and usage in the future. TV shows see Twitter as an important place to host discussions about their issues or content. However, with no control over that debate, it seems that TV shows and the broadcasters are selectively myopic when it comes to these debates. Sure, they can give instant feedback and comments about the show, however, they can also be hate fuelled and libellous towards individuals or groups within the shows.
The 1971 classic, “Le Mans” is only very occasionally shown on UK TV. Starring Steve McQueen, the film is considered a benchmark in racing films. McQueen raced this car with Peter Revson (the 48 Porsche 908/2 Spyder) in the 1970 12 Hours of Sebring race, where it came first in its class, and second overall.