Hi everyone. I'm happy to announce the publication of my book, Social TV: Multi-Screen Content and Ephemeral Culture, with the University Press of Mississippi. 

Description: In Social TV: Multi-Screen Content and Ephemeral Culture, Cory Barker reveals how the US television industry promised—but failed to deliver—a social media revolution in the 2010s to combat the imminent threat of on-demand streaming video. Barker examines the rise and fall of Social TV across press coverage, corporate documents, and an array of digital ephemera. He demonstrates that, despite the talk of disruption, the movement merely aimed to exploit social media to reinforce the value of live TV in the modern attention economy. Case studies from broadcast networks to tech start-ups uncover a persistent focus on community that aimed to monetize consumer behavior in a transitionary industry period.

To trace these unfulfilled promises and flopped ideas, Barker draws upon a unique mix of personal Social TV experiences and curated archives of material that were intentionally marginalized amid pivots to the next big thing. Yet in placing this now-forgotten material in recent historical context, Social TV shows how the era altered how the industry pursues audiences. Multi-screen campaigns have shifted away from a focus on live TV and toward all-day “content” streams. The legacy of Social TV, then, is the further embedding of media and promotional material onto every screen and into every moment of life.

Select Reviews

"An especially timely volume, Social TV is an impressive study of the Social TV archive for several key case studies, each of which speak to different subsectors of Social TV, while commenting on the broader cultural and industrial ramifications of social media engagement. Social TV offers readers a rich archive through which to examine shifts in the TV industry. "

- Jennifer Gillan, author of Television Brandcasting: The Return of the Content-Promotion Hybrid

"Barker’s meticulously researched ‘ephemeral historiography’ of the rise and fall of Social TV offers fresh insights into some of this moment's more notable experiments, from ABC’s #TGIT to AMC’s Story Sync. Vitally, it also excavates under-theorized industrial experiments to gauge and reward fan participation from this era, from check-in platforms’ efforts to gamify television viewing to Amazon’s experiments with ‘fansourcing’ feedback on their television pilots. The result is a comprehensive and compelling account of the television industry’s attempt to embrace emergent platforms, while managing audience engagement on their terms."

- Suzanne Scott, author of Fake Geek Girls: Fandom, Gender, and the Convergence Culture Industry
Cory Barker
, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Communication
Bradley University
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