Using social media while watching TV diminishes enjoyment

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Joggling between watching television and social media lessens a person’s ability to escape reality and enjoy a show, according to a University of Connecticut study.

The study, published in the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, found the most significant impact of the two-screen experience was on viewers’ ability to transport into the narrative and become immersed in the televised story.

“Despite its popularity, live-tweeting has potential pitfalls on audience experience,” Saraswathi Bellur, Assistant Professor at Connecticut University said.

For the study, researchers separated 230 college students into two groups. One group watched the TV show ‘Friends’ while tweeting, the other group watched the same show without tweeting.

Those tweeting were asked to send at least five messages during the half-hour broadcast.

Afterwards, both groups completed a survey about the experience.

Compared to those engaged in media multi-tasking, participants consuming only one medium were more likely to experience ‘transportation’ into the content, and in turn, more intensified emotions.

According to the researchers, given the prevalence of TV shows that actively initiate social media conversations among viewers by promoting conversations, more research needs to be done.

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