Twitter and TV go hand in hand. You only have to watch the Tweets flow during shows like X Factor (@TheXFactor) or Question Time (@BBCQuestionTime) to see viewers sharing the highs and the lows of big TV moments and joining in the conversation with other fans around the country.
But in addition to being somewhere that fans can get involved in the conversation during TV shows, Twitter is also becoming a valuable tool helping producers find stories and create TV shows.
One great example of this is tonight’s Channel Four current affairs programme Dispatches, which was inspired by a conversation that presenter Tim Lovejoy, (@TimLovejoy) had on Twitter with MP Tim Loughton (@TimLoughton).
The exchange prompted the Dispatches team to create a show investigating shared parenting by separated couples, asking whether current legislation in this area is up-to-date with the way modern families operate.
Why Twitter played a pivotal role in the making of my #SharingMumDad programme airing tonight on Channel 4 youtu.be/qlj5G1CsPJQ
— Tim Lovejoy ( @timlovejoy) January 14, 2013
The Tweets tell the story:
@ timlovejoy Where does this come from? Whole point of 2day’s proposals is dads are every bit as important as mums and courts must recognise
— Tim Loughton MP ( @timloughton) June 13, 2012
@ timloughton Thanks for replying. We want to know why there’s not equality. In your interview on 5 live you didn’t regard fathers as equal
— Tim Lovejoy ( @timlovejoy) June 13, 2012
And so a programme was born, and the production team used Twitter to successfully source vital contributors as they put it together.
Are there any separated parents who are trialling 50/50 shared parenting? We want to hear from you @ c4sharingmumdad
— Tim Lovejoy ( @timlovejoy) November 20, 2012
They also used Twitter to source questions for the experts they interviewed:
We need your questions for our interview with @ coram tomorrow. What would you like to ask them? Do you agree with them on #sharedparenting?
— Sharing Mum & Dad ( @C4SharingMumDad) December 20, 2012
Tim also used the platform to share the progress of his personal journey into the subject:
Tomorrow Im off to see child Psycholigist to ask abt facts of separation on kids for @ c4sharingmumdad. Bit scared of what I might find out.
— Tim Lovejoy ( @timlovejoy) November 21, 2012
Twitter Q&As are a fantastic way to continue the debate and conversation about a TV show after the credits roll. Shows from The Only Way Is Essex to Downton Abbey regularly host Q&As with their cast during and after the shows.
Tweet your questions for Tim Lovejoy with the hashtag #sharingmumdad and of course share your thoughts throughout the programme via Twitter.
Dispatches: Sharing Mum and Dad airs at 8pm Monday 14 January on Channel Four.