THE BLOG

TV Guide Meet Twitter: Making Your Own Appointment Television

08/14/2012 12:02 pm ET | Updated Oct 14, 2012

Must-see TV used to be on Thursday nights -- Rachel, Ross, Joey, Monica and Chandler were there, so were Jerry Seinfeld and Frasier Crane. It was the night that NBC executives dubbed appointment television and few people dared to miss it. If they did they would be out of the loop at the water cooler the next morning.

Now I make my own appointments with my television. I decide what's must-see TV for me and I have social media to thank. My empowerment was never more evident than with the way I watched the Olympics.

I am a wrestling fan and Olympic moments on NBC, for me and the rest of Olympic wrestling fandom, are few and far between. Yes, MSNBC had more wrestling and there was live streaming too, but I don't have cable or a satellite service so for me it was a near blackout.

That's why while I was out running my usual weekend errands and got a tweet that the finals match for freestyle wrestler Jake Varner would be on the network, I stopped what I was doing, drove home and thoroughly enjoyed watching his gold-medal moment. I didn't stick around for the rhythmic gymnastics -- that's not my thing and I had more errands to run.

I am not the only one who watched what they wanted -- who made their own appointment television. The BBC took the gold in TV coverage by airing live events on 24 extra digital channels. The British were able to have the Olympics their way; hold the water polo, hold the badminton.

The Olympic facts and figures courtesy of Associated Press are as impressive as South African blade-runner Oscar Pistorius' competitive spirit. More than 50 million tweets went out about the Olympics. NBC's primetime audience averaged 31.1 million viewers a night. That's up more than 10 percent from Beijing. Also according to AP, chief NBC researcher Alan Wurtzel said one in every five Olympic viewers watched more than one screen at a time.

And I was one of them. Social media didn't just help me know when to watch, it also helped me enjoy what I was watching. I watched the opening and closing ceremonies while also watching the comments on Twitter. I am a sucker for snarky and witty -- that's not something you get from the television commentary.

It's a different world thanks to social media and live streaming. Cheers Twitter and Facebook, we are mad about you for making must-see TV more than just a Thursday night smorgasbord of our sitcom friends.