Social Media as Television Production Technology

This project will treat social media as a technology that enters the technological array of television production. It examines the adaptation of social media within television production cultures as a ‘live’ and on-going process that is increasingly routine or expected in the context of contemporary factual television production for broadcasters, independent television companies and online TV competitors. Led by Dr James Bennett, this project is nested within the wider ADAPT project on the history of British broadcast television technology to the present. Within the context of ADAPT, this nested three year project will examine how the use of social media affects the lives of skilled technicians and producers, and in what ways they have adapted to, and adapted, these new technologies into their production routines.

As such the project’s approach to social media as a television production technologies is shaped by two key understandings:

  • As a force of creative disruption entering production cultures from an external, wider, cultural mileu that was not planned for or iterative in the production world of television.
  • As a technological platform that is non-hardware specific. Social media, as a series of proprietary platforms, can be accessed across an array of hardware technologies: from mobile phones to tablets to desktop computers, laptops, connected TVs and increasingly a plethora of ‘smart’ technologies as part of the ‘Internet of things’, including cameras and other audiovisual recording equipment.

By extending the ADAPT project in these directions, this ‘live’ project will address four key research questions.

  1. How does social media operate as a production technology in contemporary (factual) television production and how does it fit into the array of technologies used in productions?
  2. How (and has it) moved from innovation to routine use, and what role do corporate decision making and individual practice play in this movement?
  3. How does the deployment of social media affect production roles, skills and training of contemporary television workers?
  4. How does social media affect the work lives of those in contemporary television production?

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