aNewDomain.net — The social aspects of TV have reached entirely new levels, as Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 2 proved.
The rape scene swept viewers off their feet and, apparently, right onto their mobile devices.
Naturally, there was controversy around the plot change — the book differs from the HBO series — and fans reacted strongly to the news via social media when the episode aired on both sides of the pond.
Many called it “horrifying” and some argued there was no reason for that scene to exist at all.
Video: Game of Thrones YouTube Channel/Game of Thrones Season 4: Ice and Fire, A Foreshadowing
While the controversy is interesting, what’s more fascinating is the speed of the uproar. Mobile feedback is that instant.
As proven by this controversial episode, smartphone owners worldwide are rapidly taking up an innovative form of interactive participation through social networking.
Mobile messaging apps are the key players in this new social status-cult-culture game. Hundreds of millions of people download mobile messaging apps, which creates new dialogue around the latest, trendiest shows (and everything else). From KakaoTalk, Line, WeChat, to WhatsApp and others — we use free chat messaging, voice and video communications, mobile entertainment and commerce to collectively talk about our latest and greatest obsessions.
Madmen, Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones are the most-recent sensations, and that’s just in Western media. The widespread chatter has, in some ways, created tribal reactions. Some even say a cult feedback loop. And they might be right — see just how much people love Game of Thrones.
HBO Tribal Strategy
HBO is no stranger to this phenomena — according to an inside look at their strategy, HBO is encouraging it. Here’s part of an interview by LostRemote.
Lost Remote: What’s Game of Thrones’ social TV strategy for the new season?
HBO’s Sabrina Caluori: Inspire fans to share their passion for Game of Thrones via their social graph by providing compelling content, intriguing calls to action and a full suite of tools on a wide variety of platforms. Reward the most active fans with special recognition from official RT’s, Likes and Reblogs to special “swag” giveaways and even inclusion in promo spots on the network.
LR: What are the goals?
SC: Grow the audience by harnessing the enthusiasm of the existing fan base and funneling intrigued new viewers into a tribe.”
The global ratings for Game of Thrones are sky high. This correlates well with the mobile messaging companies, whose numbers have skyrocketed in the last couple years. These companies have serious global ambitions.
Line, from Japan, is targeting half a billion users this year. WeChat is spending $200 million per year on international marketing to become China’s first worldwide tech brand. Facebook’s WhatsApp processes 50 billion messages per day. And Korea’s KakaoTalk is installed on 93 percent of the country’s smartphones.
Facebook is still the leader, as it owns a number of the individual services:
Facebook announced on Wednesday that both Messenger and Instagram have crossed the 200 million active user mark, so both apps still have a ways to go before reaching the coveted billion. WhatsApp on Tuesday said it reached 500 million mark.”
Social Media Creates Spoilers For Cult Viewers
How do we expect our heroine(s) to control 7 kingdoms when most of us can hardly control our social media urges? The backlash of spoiled episodes is high — and nobody wants to check their feed to accidentally find out how their favorite show’s episode ended. (Hint: In Game of Thrones, someone usually dies. Someone important.)
But if you do lose control of those urges, technology can at least make sure nobody experiences the gut-wrenching spoilers (which are also handily located in the book series). Sky News shares:
An add-on for the Google Chrome internet browser can stop you from seeing spoilers for your favorite TV drama. The Silencer extension allows users to type in specific terms, which are then blocked from Twitter and Facebook feeds.
Fans of Game of Thrones were left angry on Monday after a technology website tweeted spoilers minutes after the latest episode aired. The four million Twitter followers of Mashable were sent details of a major event in the most recent episode, followed by an email update.”
Do you chat about your favorite shows? Are you disgusted by spoilers? The spheres of entertainment and social media are only growing closer, so get ready.
For aNewDomain.net, I’m David Michaelis.
Based in Australia, David Michaelis is a world-renowned international journalist and founder of Link Tv. At aNewDomain.net, he covers the global beat, focusing on politics and other international topics of note for our readers in a variety of forums. Email him at DavidMc@aNewDomain.net.
There’s no “rape scene”. I’m disgusted that people are calling “that scene” by that name. It’s a facile label slapped on by childish feminists who have failed to grasp the dense complexity of the relationship in question and, therefore, the context of the actions they decry. Did those same people have anything to say about the “cock removal scene”? No. Because who cares?
Yes I am a feminist