Ryoko Sasamoto, Dublin City University

Live-commentary, engagement and entertainment: Towards a relevance-based analysis of shared viewing behaviour and dual-communicative situations

The way we interact with media has changed considerably in recent years. Not only do we consume media products as viewers/audience, we now engage in producing media products, creating content on social media by posting or by commenting, be it verbal content or non-verbal images. In addition, we increasingly share our viewing experience with (often unspecified) fellow viewers. Viewers share their viewing experience by watching a film on TV while live-tweeting or live-narrating their experience on social media. Or, a group of viewers might use an online platform to talk to each other while watching a programme while being physically away from each other. That is, viewers often engage in two separate, but interlinked communications at the same time, namely, viewing media content on one screen while engaging in conversations with others online. In this context, media consumption is no longer just about engaging with the media product – it has now become a social experience. Interestingly, studies in Communication Studies suggest that sharing the viewing experience often results in reduced emotional responses to the programme contents due to a decreased transportation into the narrative. This in turn causes decreased enjoyment (Oviedo et al. 2015, Bayer et al. 2016 Rubenking 2017, Park et al. 2019) However, the fact that viewers engage in such activities suggests that there is something which leads viewers to do so. The question then, is why viewers do this and what do they gain by sharing the viewing experience. We would also want to find out what regulates the way we divide our attention. Understanding the underlying processing mechanism involved in sharing viewing experience using multiple screens is the first step towards answering these questions.

In this presentation, I will explore different ways this could be addressed, using ideas from Relevance Theory alongside insights from Social Cognition. I will further explore different empirical methods that could be employed in this project to gain an insight into the viewer experience in this dual-communicative context where watching something is no longer just about cognitive processing and is also about an encapsulating social experience.

Bayer, J. B., Ellison, N. B., Schoenebeck, S. Y., & Falk, E. B. (2016). Sharing the small moments: ephemeral social interaction on Snapchat. Information, Communication & Society19(7), 956-977

Oviedo, V., Tornquist, M., Cameron, T., & Chiappe, D. (2015). Effects of media multi-tasking with Facebook on the enjoyment and encoding of TV episodes. Computers in Human Behavior51, 407-417.

Park, S., X. Xu, B. Rourke and S. Bellur (2019) Do You Enjoy TV, while Tweeting? Effects of Multitasking on Viewers’ Transportation, Emotions and Enjoyment, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 63:2, 231-249, DOI: 10.1080/08838151.2019.1622340

Rubenking, B. (2017). Boring is bad: Effects of emotional content and multitasking on enjoyment and memory. Computers in Human Behavior72, 488-495.