Tweeting while watching TV is so 2011. For many the days of the one-screen TV-watching experience are gone forever, but now technology companies are upping the ante with show-specific and rewards-based social sharing apps – so-called social TV apps – to extend your viewing experience.
Leading the charge is GetGlue (iOS/Android), which encourages fans to check in and unlock secret stickers and other rewards while watching or learning about TV, movies and music. Leading up to the new season premiere of Mad Men this Sunday, more than 200,000 people have checked in to watch the show's trailer and unlock an exclusive sticker from the producers at AMC. However, there isn't just one kind of sticker, there are a host of choices including the Mad Men Superfan sticker, which requires 15 check-ins. When you unlock 20 stickers or more you get real stickers (just like when you were a kid) mailed to your home.
Miso (iOs) also relies on the check-in philosophy, but this social TV app also points you to songs from your favourite shows, actor trivia and real-time polls to choose your winner across multiple reality programs. During the 2012 Oscars Miso launched a viewing party (sponsored by Hyundai) so viewers could connect to get exclusive red carpet access and commentary for the Academy Awards.
Peel (iOS and Android) has also made headlines with an app that encourages you to share shows you're watching and find out what folks in your social networks are viewing. The app also learns about your TV preferences the more you interact with it, so it can recommend programs you might like. And while it's not Mad Men related, we'd be remiss to ignore fans of American Idol, who will likely enjoy a new Peel feature: the Idol Interactive Experience. This game within the app that allows you to cheer or boo the show's contestants and judges. In other words, there's more to this download than simply checking in, allowing for real-time engagement and commentary with other viewers.
And don't forget the original app for social TV: Twitter. Just this week Mashable reported the season two finale of Pretty Little Liars broke a social media TV record. During the first broadcast of the show fans sent more than 600,000 messages, averaging around 32,000 tweets per minute. Many Twitter users are also getting creative when it comes to following their top shows. Some Mad Men fans have taken to tweeting as the show's characters: Love Better Draper Francis? Follow her @bettydraper to find out how the 1960s Junior Leaguer participates in the social sphere. "Betty," who is actually Helen Klein Ross of Brand Factory Fiction, recently did a SXSW presentation about her social storytelling experiment.
Social TV looks to be getting bigger, better and more immersive, just don't forget to pay attention to the show every once and a while, or you might miss the reason for some of those LOLs.