Madrid: Just when you’ve learnt how to tweet on Twitter, it’s time for Twision.
Twitter Television is the latest twist on the microblogging phenomenon to have captured people’s imagination, at least in Spain.
Combining Twitter with TV, the new programme on the country’s Veo7 channel allows twitterers to interact with the presenters and their guests.
Thousands of people have been logging in to post tweets, or messages, on any given subject which pop up in real time on the bottom of the TV screen during the hour-long weekly show.
US-based Twitter itself said Twision appeared to be the first show of its kind in the world, although it has no official connection to the social networking site.
“It’s not backed at all by Twitter, which is what makes the show even more compelling,” said Twitter’s vice president for communications, Sean Garrett.
“Anyone can do something like this completely on their own with Twitter’s open and public network,” he told AFP.
The programme also has recorded features and interviews, as well as the latest news on Internet technology and social networking sites.
The first show in March included Spain’s NBA basketball star Rudy Fernandez, who answered questions in a “Twitentrevistado”, or Twinterview.
Another programme focused on the newly launched iPad, and included an interview with a Spanish hacker based in Houston, Texas.
The web version, at www.veo.es/twision, features a “Twitterulia” which shows tweets alongside the broadcast.
Veo7’s director Melchor Moralles, one of the two hosts, said some 659,000 people had tuned in for at least part of the first show in March. Two months later, this had slumped to 350,000, although a repeat of the programme is shown the next day.
The figures “prove that there is room for a programme like this,” Moralles said in a blog. “Twision is going to succeed, there’s no doubt.”
But one analyst said he doubted the Veo7 show ever would catch on in the long-term.
“Whenever a new technology comes along, older forms will try to interact with it,” said Joshua Benton of Harvard University’s Nieman Journalism Lab.
“There used to be a lot of TV shows about web sites. When television first came along, there were programmes that just showed radio disc jockeys playing records,” he told AFP.
“I think it’s a natural thing for a television producer to want to bring the latest hot topic to his medium. But I wouldn’t say I’m optimistic about Twision lasting on air for 20 years.”
Twitter itself, which has broadcast billions of tweets since its launch in 2006, last year signed what was described as a “lightweight, non-exclusive, agreement” with US TV producers to develop a show based on the social networking site.
But Garrett said the reports “were exaggerated in the media.”
“There was a passing thought, but then it was quickly agreed that there would be no reason for us to be involved in a ‘Twitter Show’ because media everywhere could do it on their own.”
He said the Veo7 show “was brought up in our weekly all-employee meeting and everyone enjoyed hearing about it.”
Twitter executives are “constantly surprised by how people use and integrate Twitter in creative ways,” he said.
Tweets shown on the programme itself were largely enthusiastic.
“What’s amusing is to see this live, and to try to follow 3,000 tweets there were tonight,” said one.
“Thank you (to you and all the team) for doing something different and innovative,” said another.
But at least one viewer was disappointed.
“The only thing new is the format. In terms of the content, I don’t see anything different from conventional television,” Natalia, a 43-year-old teacher, told AFP.
“In short, I think there are many programmes like this already on TV.”