TV networks apparently need even more feedback -- in shorthand, if possible -- about your feelings, emotions and interactions regarding their content.
ABC News has announced a new web app called Social Soundtracker that will allow viewers to tap buttons to register such reactions as "clap," "boo," "laugh," "gasp" or "aww." The app will also let viewers hear a corresponding sound.
Interestingly, this app applies to news content, not scripted or unscripted entertainment.
Chiefly, this will let your friends know immediately how you feel about stuff. Your favorite politician gets a big win? Applause, applause. Your favorite football player delivers a crushing blow to an opponent? An "ooh" could be appropriate.
Networks have always done testing of shows. With handheld devices and other technology, test subjects let producers know their real-time feelings about plot lines and characters. All this -- right or wrong -- can push producers to make changes.
We are not too sure how much the less scientific world of social media apps will provide research for the next generation of TV content producers.
But we can see where some of this is going. These more specific responses can yield perhaps more exacting information -- at least for marketers -- when it comes to figuring out how to better sell content to traditional TV viewers. It might be better than assigning a positive or negative value to a person's long social media diatribe about the latest episode of "Grey's Anatomy" or "Dancing with the Stars."
Debuting with ABC News may seem somewhat weird, but the app’s first use was with the most entertaining of news content -- the White House Correspondents' Dinner, which is always filled with lots of laughs.
And ABC is supposedly working on a future version of the app that would integrate facial detection technology.
Who would want to do that? Don't ask me. I didn't think it was all that important to tell my friends on Facebook how lame a show like "Ready for Love" was. I just groaned when I saw the show in my living room, with no one around. Obviously, I wasn't thinking about my friends' feelings -- nor those of any network executives.