How Syfy fully integrates Twitter into a show’s storyline

Is Twitter lifting the veil on Haven’s many mysteries?

A TV show using Twitter? No big news there, you might think, especially since many TV shows an their actors have Twitter accounts in order to interact with their target audience.

Well, Syfy pushed the whole Twitter hype a little further by actively integrating the popular microblogging service into one of their TV shows’ storyline. Syfy approached Twitter with this idea in order to get tangible statistics about user engagement at the end of the experiment.

For 7 episodes fan of the Syfy show Haven can follow several Twitter accounts  to get some more insights into the mysterious show.

 

Haven: the TV show

Haven is based on Stephen King’s Novel “The Colorado Kid” and many qualify the show as a mix of Fringe and X-Files. It definitely has this typical Stephen King feel to it which makes it very unique and fascinating.

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The show centers around the small town of Haven which holds lots of mysteries and weirdness. Some of the town’s inhabitants suffer from paranormal afflictions that can be of great danger for other people and the town itself.
One of the three main characters is former FBI agent Audrey Parker. She is sent to the small town of Haven, Maine to solve a case but she ends up discovering that she is somehow linked to the town and its “troubles”. Then theres Nathan Wuornos, the local cop whose affliction causes him to be unable to feel pain.  The third main character is Duke Crocker, charming but somehow shady because of his somewhat illegal import/export shipping business or smuggling if you prefer. Nathan and Audrey work together to help the “troubled” inhabitants of Haven deal with their affliction.

Let’s not forget the two owners and editors of the the town newspaper, Vince and Dave Teagues, who know more about the town and its troubles than they let on.

The show is really worth a watch, especially since the 2nd season just ended. Fans are hoping for a third season pick-up from Syfy. Fingers crossed!

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Haven and Twitter

Syfy had a unique approach on how to integrate Twitter into the shows’ storyline. I remember that in one of the first episodes of season 2, Vince and Dave were talking about the Twitter accounts they’ve opened to see who of the two brothers would get the most followers. It was funny to see these two elderly people take an interest into social media, especially since you could see a sign hanging in Nathan’s office (5th episode of season 2) saying “follow @DaveHave”. Though, I didn’t really give a thought to the fact the before mentioned Twitter account might exist for real.

Fans of the show who wanted to follow the Twitter storyline, had to follow @DaveHaven, @VinceHaven, @ColdInHaven and #HavenNews. The show used Twitter to give some hints here and there about the town and its mysteries but without disadvantaging those who don’t catch the Twitter plot. In fact, fans following the Twitter online subplot will get some exclusive insights and secrets, which will simply add a little something extra to the on screen experience.
It is not uncommon for tv shows to use Twitter for live-interaction during episodes but Haven managed to really weave the popular microblogging service into its storyline.

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Syfy Digital General Manager Craig Engler mentioned that the network looked for a subtle way of integrating Twitter into Haven’s storyline. Rather than being to apparent in the show itself, Twitter should add more of a “behind the scenes” kind of feel to the real written storyline.

“We don’t want it to be like, ‘Oh Vince and Dave are going to sit down during the show and have a Twitter conversation!’ because it’s boring to watch people tweet.
You’ll see them [tweeting] in the background or hear snippets of conversation. We’re going to kind of tease the Twitter storyline throughout the episodes without directly engaging it.”

The approach is innovative and maybe more shows will do the same. As for me I didn’ quite get what Vince and Dave were talking about on Twitter and I didn’t notice anything in particular regarding Twitter in the several episodes either. It must be more fascinating if you watch the show live while observing the Twitter accounts, which you can only do if you’re in the US!

I still like the idea though!

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