How social networks are affecting entertainment.

The Hollywood Reporter has done a survey investigating the ways that people use social media–and how it steps on entertainment. The results are telling. The study discusses the activities people take part in during their every day lives, from frequency and duration of visiting sites like Facebook and Twitter to the way that people use social networking during movies and TV shows.

The study shows very clearly that social media is a great way to bump up sales, views and admissions. 

“More than 6 percent of respondents decided to see Paranormal Activity 3 based in part on social networking sites.”

An additional 6 percent is nothing to scoff at–especially since it was basically 6 million dollars for free, but while electronic word of mouth is fine, some of the other results are more disturbing. 75 percent of social networkers think that the presence of phones in theatres negatively effects the experience but nearly half would be interested in a theatre that allowed going on phones and the internet.

Social networking integration has begun to make its way into gaming. In the beginning, there were several clumsy examples of the fine line between acceptable and spam. Some games like Sword & Sworcery have managed to find subtler and more interesting ways to allow players to flaunt their accomplishments. Twitter has even become the basis of some games like Twirdie, a golf game where the player swings by typing a word and the distance the ball travels is that word’s frequency on Twitter in the last minute.

There’s still a huge amount of potential left to integrating social networking in games, but the fact that people are so ready and even want to allow social networks into things like movie theatres makes me wonder about the sanctity of experience. As the world becomes more connected, we stop focusing on one experience at a time. As I’m playing a game, I may have music on. If I’m watching a show, maybe I’m also glancing through my email or facebook. Does this mean I’m disrespecting the show? Or am I just doing myself a disservice? The phone is no stranger to interrupting game experiences but Facebook is a chosen interruption, something you opt-in to rather than being something unexpected. In movie theatres you’re asked to turn your phone off out of respect to the others around you but should you also turn it off during a game out of respecto to yourself and the game?