Black audiences watch 37 percent more television than any other group. Blacks and Hispanics are also heavier users of social media more so than other demographic groups, so it’s only fitting that blacks are more active when it comes to discussing television shows, specifically reality TV, on social media platforms, according to media researcher Sherri Williams and social media strategist Lynessa Williams during a tweet chat Monday night.
“Social TV engagement is high around TV shows with mostly black casts or black folks in central characters,” said Sherri Williams, later singling out mega-hits Empire, Scandal and Love & Hip Hop as top examples. Shows featuring black and other women of color trend on Twitter most, often driving the conversation surrounding TV shows, she said.
Networks have now realized the power of social TV and are trying to cash in, Lynessa Williams said. “Networks promote contests to get viewers to engage online, sponsor watch parties and require actors to tweet about their shows during first airings.”
The problem is networks also tend to broadcast shows, especially reality TV, that are based on stereotypes, said Sherri Williams. The shows often objectify women’s bodies and show violent, racial stereotypes of women of color, she added.
“People tweet what they see,” Sherri Williams said. “Broadcast and cable networks also curate memes that viewers create based on the shows. Folks create outlandish, ugly memes to make the top 10.”
While viewers, on a large scale, tend to reinforce negative stereotypes with their memes, they have also learned to harness the power of social media to shut down production of a show: VI1’s “Sorority Sisters,” is one prime example.
Here’s the rest of the discussion about stereotypes in social TV and how to combat them: