Say what? … No really! Couch potatoes are now multi-screening.

Interactive TV, enhanced TV, social TV; whatever you’d like to call it, it is rapidly becoming a preferred method of watching television, and is here to stay. The “second-screen” phenomenon may have snuck up on you and you’re forgiven for being in the dark!

But, what is the hype about? And, how could this easy-to-implement “phenomenon” dramatically increase your productivity while watching TV? Truthfully, it’s a simple concept: It’s called multitasking!

When was the last time you’ve watched TV without snatching your phone out of your pocket to send an email, or just to scroll aimlessly through your newsfeed? We’ve all watched a movie with our smartphone or tablet in hand – looking up the last movie that actor was in, or who wrote the music, or checking out the stats on your favourite player. Oh Yes, it’s pretty likely that you’ve participated in this trend!

In the past, we were all glued to the TV as our fingernails were reduced to dust while watching the Springboks in action. Right? Not anymore. Technology has changed our lives. Nobody just watches TV anymore without having a second-screen handy. Laptops, tablets, smartphones and handheld gaming units can all be used as a second-screen.

Yes, many people not only consume their favourite shows, but simultaneously comment about them on their preferred social networks and check in on second-screen apps. It’s an easy way to bolster your viewing experience by allowing you to quickly interact with users on Twitter or Facebook, to comment on what’s happening live, and to participate in polls and contests.

Did you know that, across the globe, there were 618,725 tweets per minute when Germany lifted the soccer World Cup trophy? A twitter record for the event! In the same tournament, Brazil and Germany played out the most tweeted about sporting event in history. And, this was not limited to Twitter. The final, featuring Germany and Argentina, generated the highest interaction Facebook has ever seen for a sporting event, with over 280 million posts! All being done while watching TV! True, providing supplementary content on a second screen can make what’s happening on the first that much more intriguing.

Studies done on second-screen usage found that 70% of tablet owners, and 68% of smartphone owners state that they use their additional devices while watching TV. However, only 37% of those who practice second-screen viewing do so in order to look up information that is related to the program they are watching. Interesting!

So, before you feel guilty about spending time in front of the TV optimising your “tools”, maybe think about how you could take advantage of second-screening to be more productive without compromising on relaxation. Research shows that this “wasted” time can indeed be used beneficially.

Multitasking is what television in the 21st century is all about. So, double up TV time to:

  • Check emails.
  • Update your schedule.
  • Create shopping lists and pay bills.
  • Catch up on texting, tweeting or pinning.
  • Search on the internet.
  • Catch up on the news.
  • Shop online.
  • Read articles.
  • Visit social media.
  • Do work-related tasks.

TV no longer commands our full attention. The trend for using your smartphone or a tablet while watching TV is opening up new opportunities in using technology, to enjoy both the downtime we need, as well as being more productive.

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DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.