Picture of the Day: Twitter on TV Failure

Dave Zatz —  September 4, 2009

twitter-fringe-fox-fail1

Still think Twitter on TV is a good idea? Check out Fox’s failed Fringe experiment above. Pop-Up Video or MST3K this ain’t. Bottom line: The huge Twitter overlay made Fringe unwatchable last night. And imagine how much worse it’d be on a 4:3 screen.

12 responses to Picture of the Day: Twitter on TV Failure

  1. Sorry for the bad pics. Here’s another. If I weren’t on the way out of town, I’d have gotten a proper screen capture.

  2. Twitter on TV *is* a good idea, but it must be done correctly. I suspect this integration with Fringe was done using keywords, instead of using hashtags. Plus the formatting looks atrocious!

    I object to this botched attempt by Fox causing Dave, or anyone else, to throw the baby out with the bath water.

  3. Dave,
    Really like the ‘zoom’ that takes place when clicking on the image to view larger – what is that?

  4. That was atrocious. At one point some guy was going on about “I want to see that guy shirtless!” Yeah… THAT’S compelling television…

  5. Yes, this looks horrible. Thanks for capturing this, because I was wondering how FOX would make this work.

    I think it’s important to note that it wasn’t just any random Fringe related tweet that showed up on the screen. It was actually Fringe producers that were commenting. So it didn’t have anything to do with the number of people tweeting or hashtags.

    I think the main problem was having more than one tweet on the screen at the same time. It seems just one is enough.

    And maybe they should make the box a bit more transparent, so viewers can see the action.

  6. Hi,

    This has been done in the uk since the 90’s at least, and not even before digitisation, but with the very analogue technology of Teletext/ceefax (google it!).

    It’s also been available directly with hashtag-equivalent tags and short-codes using SMS text-messaging, and open-tv/mheg-based interactivity.

    The mess that is that twitter bandwagon simply symbolises the hype and forgetting what already exists without needing twitter.

    In the UK for example, there’s a weekly political discussion programme called “Question Time” that has allowed people viewing at home, to text in their comments as the programme is being broadcast and the comments run as a combination of ticker-tape and vertically-threaded, while not hogging the screen.

    This implementation (and obsession) with twitter can’t work unless viewers are given the option to opt-out or in, with separate data-streams, either on twitter or sms or iphone widget or tv-overlay – it s no different than dvd commentaries, many people don’t care and just want o watch their programme!

    Kind regards,

    Shakir Razak

  7. And just another note. These tweets were all embedded into the actual live airing of the show. It wasn’t accomplished with live tweets or anything. It was combined together in post production.

    So we’re not talking about real-time tweeting on TV, which is only possible via Verizon’s FiOS TV right now. No other pay TV provider allows this. And yes, it can be turned off.

  8. I think you guys have missed the point:

    1. These were repeats, so they clearly weren’t concerned about the overlay covering up what was going on in the show. It’s intent was to be like a directors commentary on a DVD. If you’ve ever seen one of those – you know that the commentary always covers up the content of whatever is being commented on (audio wise).

    2. The Tweets were indeed live – you could follow along with the actors doing the tweeting on thier twitter pages and see that the update were happening live. Viewers asking questions to the actors even had their questions answered – live. (http://tinyurl.com/l7x425)

    Seems to me the real question is weather this particular format was the right format for “Twitter on TV” – and for me the answer is clearly no – bu it’s a first step. This format was not interactive enough or customized enough. the holy frail of this concept will be the ability to overlay your own twitter feed over any television content you choose in real time – and minimize it when you want or turn it off all together. That’s coming, and IMO at least it will be pretty darn cool.

  9. Todd, We’re in agreement that the primary failure here is the presentation/formatting.

    Pol, it’s FancyZoom.js. Something I installed maybe 18 months or so ago and use on occasion. Any link to a .jpg or .png loads that file/image over the page. When it’s an image with a link, it has that nice zoom effect.

    treaty, Perhaps I missed the point. Or perhaps television studios and networks would prefer to gain, not lose, viewers. My buddy Tim who told me about this tuned in to see Fringe for the first time, ahead of the new season, and pretty quickly shut it down. I agree it’s a good idea to experiment and the time to do it in the off-season, with repeats. But that doesn’t make it risk free. And whoever thought covering up so much of the screen was a good idea needs to have their production credentials reexamined.

  10. twitter on tv?Why???? It’s distracting, annoying and adds nothing to the program!!!! At the very least give me the option to turn it off…..

  11. They did it on one of the many reruns of the Glee pilot this past week, too.

    If the content can be interesting it might be good, but I agree that it would be even better if we could turn it off or have to opt in. Not sure how that would work though, until all TV’s have widgets built in like FiOS or Yahoo Widgets.

    Thank god they haven’t put it into first run episodes…yet.

  12. Yeah it totally made it unwatchable — saw it on Fringe, then again on Glee. SUCKS!