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TelevisionWeek contributing writer Daisy Whitney is blogging about the pinnacles and pitfalls facing viewers who want to consume television in new ways. Check in frequently as Daisy kicks the tires on the new media juggernaut and dishes on which services do -- and don’t -- make the cut.

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Trial and Error



Web Video Twitter Addicts

September 30, 2008 10:18 AM

No one, it seems, can resist the allure of Twitter. Certainly not Web producers, and certainly not their characters.

In fact, in the Sept. 29 installment of NBC.com’s Rosario Dawson vehicle “Gemini Division,” a Twitter backstory converged with the actual episode.

Here’s what I mean.

About a month ago, the show introduced two characters, M&M and Walken, via Twitter before they were set to appear on the series.

Those characters then lived their lives via Twitter “revealing their dysfunctional relationship and a storyline that would slowly converge with the series arc,” said the show’s executive producer Brent Friedman

The producers developed a following for each character when they started using the terms "gemini division" in their Twitter messages.

Now the Twitter-shared storyline has officially synched up with the actual on-air, or on-Web, storyline.

Even though the two stories have officially intersected, Mr. Friedman said he plans to continue the Twitter story a bit longer because it runs parallel to the series.

I’d embed the episode if I could, but “Gemini Division” doesn’t permit embeds. Still, I do think this is a cool way to integrate new media into the storytelling.

What do you think?

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Comments (6)

Patty M:

Way cool!!! gonna check it out now

Thanks for the tip Daisy!

I think this is extremely cool, but I'm not surprised, either. I was lucky enough to work with Brent a little bit on his previous series Afterworld, and he is just a great worldbuilder who uses every tool at his disposal to tell cool stories, and gets both interactive media and TV in a way few people do. I'm a huge fan of his.

Bryan:

I think that using Twitter to promote web video is only going to increase viewership among webheads who are already watching, not the general public. How do you find these characters on Twitter anyway to join their feed if you've never heard of them or seen them on the show?

As you know, I'm not much of a fan of Twitter. :-)

Bryan, fans found the characters when they Googled "Gemini Division." Having planted the phrase in some of the early Twitter dialogues, those URLs came up in the search. The messages containing the phrase were so strange that I guess some fans checked it out. From there, the hardcore fans started mentioning the characters on forums and more fans found the feeds. In fact, a number of the fans regularly interact with the characters, which has been quite interesting. Truthfully, this was never meant to increase viewership - it was meant to enhance and deepen the experience for those who were already fans. It's when articles like this get written that we have a real chance to increase viewership! So thanks, Daisy, for promoting all forms of "new media."

Brent Friedman
Creator/Producer
Gemini Division

Google wasn't the only place they planted seeds. :)

Finding the Twitter interaction was pretty cool for me. I had someone I didn't know start following me on twitter. I didn't think much of it for about a week, but when I looked deeper (as I was deciding whether to block them) I noticed they were following some of the writers for GD. I looked at what the two characters had been posting and saw some GD references and then posted what I found on the fan site forums.

My twitter account is timtodd, my username for GD is timtodd, and my account for the Afterworld forums was timtodd, so I guess they found me that way. :)

I appreciate the added depth that the GD team brought with twitter. At the GD fan site, we also discovered that one of the GD Twitter characters has an "anonymous" myspace page. On that page there are a couple of blog entries which add more depth and interaction. One of the myspace blog posts references a fan’s twitter interaction.

http://www.myspace.com/heratheophilus.

Pretty cool.

I worked up a GD twitter timeline that I posted on the fansite, it is located here: http://www.geminidivisionfiles.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&p=1423#p1423

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