Twitter may be heading to TV

Twitter is being turned into a reality TV show. Ron Hogan was last seen smacking his head against a brick wall in despair...


Suppose there was a new show coming to television from the companies that brought you such excellent fare as The Sopranos, The Tudors, NewsRadio, and the US version of The Office. Would you be kind of excited by this news? I know I would, but before we get excited, let me share with you the premise.

Using Twitter, various constants follow 140-character clues to track down selected celebrities. It’s unscripted and competitive. That’s right, someone had the bright idea to turn Twitter, the latest hot microblogging platform and promotional tool for websites like Den Of Geek (you can follow us on Twitter here) into a clone of The Greatest Race mixed with a little I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here and Gossip Girl.

Just what television needs, more reality game shows!

Haven’t we got enough shows using and abusing the Internet for programming ideas? Off the top of my head I can name at least four viral video shows, not counting viral video stars like Andy Milonakis who get their own programs. I’m sure this will expand Twitter’s audience, much like getting on Oprah caused a huge spike in new users, but what about early adopters who tend to flee a service when, you know, everyone and their mother jumps on board? Won’t this just hasten Twitter’s inevitable future as the next MySpace or Facebook? (You know, a huge service everyone has a profile on, but that nobody really pays much attention to because once their mum got a profile it stopped being cool?)

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For that matter, aren’t we about done with reality television? Hasn’t every reality television gimmick been done? Think about it; this is a program that rewards people for stalking celebrities. If a normal person used Twitter to hunt down, say, Elizabeth Banks, they’d be in jail. Yet here we are, encouraging this kind of stupid behavior by A) putting folks on TV to do it and B) giving them cash and prizes for their skills at stalking! Even Mark David Chapman knows this is a bad idea! It seems like the next step is a real-life version of Time Trumpet‘s ‘Rape An Ape’, or perhaps a Death Race of some sorts.

I know that Twitter is still trying to increase its audience (never mind the fact that it can’t handle the traffic load now, let alone after this show debuts) and that by licensing the Twitter name they’ll get money and publicity, but is this really the right kind of publicity? If they really need to turn a profit so badly, why not just sell ads? I never thought I’d say this, but some directed advertising is preferable to any sort of Twitter TV spin-off, and I voluntarily watched TMZ TV [celebrity gossip] once.

Television is not the direction Twitter should go. Look at money-making websites, then do what they do (hint, SELL ADS). This is just trashy, which means it’s bound to be Fox’s replacement for Dollhouse.

You can read more at TV Squad.