Time was, if you felt the need to
chat about your favorite television show, you would be forced to seek
out like-minded people at school or work or the local pub. But what
if you couldn't find anyone who shared your passion? Before the proliferation
of Internet fansites, being a fan of a particular show was for some
a lonely pursuit. Now social media sites like Twitter and Facebook
have made it so anyone with a computer can discover kindred spirits.
The world over, people gather daily to tweet or jabber on Facebook,
expressing their thoughts about THEIR shows.
HBO has taken the idea of fansites
one step further, creating a site that is in essence a social media
playground for their programming. HBO Connect "captures the
buzz" around popular HBO programming, allowing fans to communicate
with each other and, on occasion, stars of shows such as Treme,
Hung and the vampire drama True Blood.
True Blood, in fact, has its
very own area on Connect. TBwithdrawal.com is devoted to the series'
fourth season tease campaign and offers fans the opportunity to tweet
each other about their show directly on the site. Links to Season Four
YouTube clips, and a True Blood
link to GetGlue, another social networking site, are also provided.
This makes it extremely easy to get the latest updates on the show,
while keeping the lines of communication open with fellow "Truebies."
If you're interested in HBO series
such as Game Of Thrones, Entourage, and Boardwalk Empire,
the Connections area of the site provides an at-a-glance directory,
showcasing all the ways users can "connect" to these and other HBO
shows. Links to Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, YouTube channels and
blogs are all in one area, which makes this a convenient home base for
fans of these series.
The major selling point of this site is the Conversations area. Although the convenience of a viewer home base is a fantastic idea, Conversations seems like the best reason to come aboard. Here is where fans will be able to communicate with stars and "behind the scenes" talent (writers, directors) through live Q & A's and live Twitter commentaries. Thus far, two Q & A's have been listed as "coming soon": Thomas Jane ("Roy Drecker" from Hung) and Wendell Pierce ("Antoine Batiste" from Treme).
The commentaries sound particularly interesting as
they will be scheduled to coincide with replays of certain shows with
the talent (actor, writer, director) providing exclusive insights into
the making of the program. If you miss any of this the first time around,
it will be archived for future viewing.
The site is aesthetically pleasing
and easy to navigate. If you're feeling somewhat voyeuristic, you
can check out how many "clicks" a particular program is getting
and where those clicks emanate from in the Pulse area. This an
excellent way for HBO to see at a glance where their viewers' interests
lie and is probably on the site more for their purposes than yours.