Storyworlds for Social TV – Storyworld Expansion Across Social Networks

Expanding storyworlds and storylines across social media is something every writer and media producer should plan for when creating content.

Storyworlds for Social TV

Following my previous post about Transmedia and Social Media, this article is especially important for those working in Social TV.

Think First – Mobile is NOT the Second Screen

Social Media is the perfect companion to TV – it’s where a lot of your audience’s attention is during broadcast.

If you’re still not familiar with what Social TV is, then check this Social TV infographic, and this article which introduces the format and gets you up to speed with the lingo.

There are some killer case studies out there that show what the audience are engaging with…

A Spanish Westeros

19 Reinos was a social media game created by Transmedia Storyteller to promote the fourth season of Game of Thrones in 2014.

What’s great about the 19 Reinos storyworld, is that it isn’t quite Westeros, and it isn’t quite Spain… In fact it’s a cross between the two.

Fans used Twitter to battle each other for the Iron Throne, each representing a house (Starks, Lannister, Targaryen etc) in each of their own (Spanish) Realms.

They could build characters, attack, seduce, and betray each other, in addition to buying weapons, clothes and potions for their characters.

Players could and even use Facebook as an “in-world town square” to role-play their own characters, and follow other players. I think of this as; Follow, Post and Play.

Pretty Little Teasers

Ever heard of a US TV drama called Pretty Little Liars?

It’s by far one of the most successful Social TV shows in history.

In fact since debuting in 2010, broadcasting 120 episodes to date, Pretty Little Liars has generated 103.4 million tweets (according to Nielsen and

That’s pretty damn impressive.

But how PLL used those numbers, in terms of expanding it’s storyworld onto Twitter, was just fantastic.

The team behind the show created a simple “jig-saw campaign” leading to an upcoming spin off series.

The show’s cast each Tweeted a single piece of a teaser poster.

Only when each piece had been retweeted 1022 times would the next piece be uploaded.

It took less then 60 seconds for the first image to be re-tweeted more then 2000 times.

Within 4 minutes after the final piece had been released users had begun submitting the complete storyworld poster on Twitter – Follow, Post and Play.

But yet…

With all this talk of Storyworld and Social TV expansion – there is one genre that (in my humble opinion) seems to have been neglected in it’s potential…

Social Soap Operas

Something I have always wanted to see more of is a soap opera on social media.

To me, soap operas seem like the perfect genre for some juicy Social TV interaction.

Our local soap here is Manchester’s own Coronation Street.

“Corrie” is Britain’s longest running soap and airs a new episode five times a week to an audience of millions. It has over 2 million followers on Facebook and 800,000 followers on Twitter.

Story arcs on the show can span months (even years) – the drama just never ends!

But the best part, is that these stories are told in the present (meaning they don’t move around through time and space).

They happen right here, right now, in Manchester.

So why the hell aren’t we seeing more real time action on Twitter or Facebook?

And I’m not just talking about competitions and polls (a recent one being “Choose your favorite Roy Cropper moment”) – I mean total storyworld crossover from one medium to the other.

Surely it’s possible to start an argument on the show, end on a cliff hanger, have the characters continue the argument on social media and then conclude the argument on screen the next day?

Corrie could even go one step further, and introduce user-generated content – it gives the user a role to play in the story.

Create a campaign – let the audience choose sides – get the producers involved!

These are stories happening in real time after all, so there shouldn’t be any timescale issues…

It could even include some elements of gamification to get the younger audience engaged.

Did “Character A” miss a clue, when they went searching “Character B’s” house for proof they burned down the corner shop?

Quick! The first user to upload a screenshot and send it to Character A’s profile get’s sent a personal thank you message and a unique Corrie reward.

Follow. Post. Play.

Honestly, all I can hope is ITV read this and see the light…

Remember. Social media lets your audiences do the three things they love most on social media, follow, post and play.

So with that, it’s over to you… Do you have any examples, thoughts, or insights on Storyworld Expansion Across Social Media?

Do you know of a character or storyline that would be perfect for the social medium?

Do you have any better ideas then social soap operas?

Drop a comment and let’s discuss.


Lee Robinson
About the author

23yr old film nerd, comic book and video game geek and all round Transmedia Fanatic…Oh, and I also have a 1st degree in Media, Writing and Production. More here...

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