In a world of smartphones and tablets and all the amazing apps that go with them, "watching TV" has a new meaning. Have you heard of the term "social tv?" How about "second screen?" If you've ever participated in a text-to-vote campaign or followed your favorite actor on Twitter, you know what we're talking about. Nowadays, the new thing is to "check-in" to a show you're currently watching. If this seems a bit odd, you're not alone. This is yet another development in the constantly growing social media craze. There are several underlying reasons for "checking-in," but the main ones are: to earn redeemable points, to take part in more online conversation with your friends about the shows you enjoy watching, and to simply display your excitement and undying love of a specific program. We, Brian and Sarah, are social media nerds (hey, they pay us to be!) who recently had to dig into articles and research around these terms. While doing so, we found some of the coolest apps for your gadgets to make TV even more entertaining and rewarding: Viggle
Checking-in to a show with Viggle is super easy - as soon as you get comfy in front of the tube, hit the big check-in button, and it does the work in finding the show for you with what they call an audio fingerprint. If you've used Shazam to find out what song is playing, this will feel very familiar. Once you confirm the match (it has to be live TV - it can't be Netflix or a DVD), you'll be brought to the show's page and EVERYTHING you could ask for will be listed under it. Convenient, huh? Where to find the show on Twitter, Facebook, IMDB, Wikipedia, their store...you name it. That's not even the cool part. For every check in, you get points towards real-life rewards - there are Starbucks gift cards, gaming gear, make-up and clothes gift cards, and even opportunities to donate to charity. Here's your excuse to watch more TV.
Viggle's closest competition is an app for smartphones and iPads alike from Yahoo!. IntoNow also uses an audio fingerprinting technology to validate and log your check-in. There's no searching for the show you're watching, just let the show's audio do the work for you! However, once you check-in IntoNow provides you with extensive information related to your program. Watching your morning news? Well, once you check-in, IntoNow will provide you with links to breaking stories. How about sports? Well, on your iPad, IntoNow provides real-time stats tied to whatever game you're watching. All of this while being able to at any point discuss the program on social media with your friends or soon-to-be friends with similar tastes. You can even get notifications as to when your friends are watching specified shows. So, gossiping about plotlines will never be the same. Check it out...it's more than a little mind-blowing!
GetGlue doesn't use audio fingerprints, but it does let you check into anything from ideas to movies to songs and recording artists whenever you're enjoying them. Use the easy search, and you'll be able to check-in to unlock stickers - which GetGlue will mail you for free! They're super collectable and some shows get so creative, they'll have stickers for every episode! Additionally, it's more social than Viggle - you can see who else is checked in and have conversations around the show right in GetGlue. And, if they're checked in there, you don't have to worry about spoilers like you would on Facebook or Twitter - everyone's watching along with you!
The Miso app is pretty straightforward and seems to be a slightly more upscale and stylish version of GetGlue. You can check to see what shows are currently trending, chat with friends you've imported from Facebook and Twitter and check into shows. Just like GetGlue, the check-in feature on Miso is run on the honor system (there's no audio fingerprint or cable provider plugged into the app to keep your check-ins inline. I personally like it better than GetGlue simply because of the visual look and feel, and the depth of information provided per episode. Beyond that though, the differences are pretty scarce. Some might argue that the community size of GetGlue is larger and therefore so is the conversation and interactivity with others. Given the choice, while I'm not trying to sound anti-social, I'll take Miso over GetGlue purely from a visual ease standpoint...and also because it makes me think of yummy soup. (So I'm swayed by my appetite...we all have our vices!)
TV shows' websites
Have you been to your favorite show's website? Chances are, there are tons of exclusive footage, connections to your favorite characters on social channels like Facebook and Twitter, sweepstakes, contests, recipes and more. Especially if you're into shows like MasterChef or Hell's Kitchen (Sarah's a little obsessed), we highly recommend it.
The wildest show on the air right now is ABC's "The Glass House" - even if you're not into reality TV, we encourage you to check it out. It's the most interactive show ever! The audience decides literally every move these characters make. We've come a long way from the first seasons of "Survivor" and "American Idol," huh?
Do you use an app to check into your favorite TV shows? Where do you go to learn more or find exclusive or behind the scenes content?