(A)synchronous communication about TV series on social media: A multi-method investigation of Reddit discussions

Audiences’ TV series entertainment experiences are increasingly shaped not only by the events on the ‘first screen’ but also by discussions on social media. While an extensive body of research has examined practices of ‘second screening,’ especially on Twitter, online discussions before and after the live broadcast and on other platforms have received less attention. On Reddit—one of the most important platforms for Social TV—discussions often take place in temporally structured threads that allow users to discuss an episode before (pre-premiere thread), during (live premiere thread), and after (post-premiere thread) it airs. In this project, we examine whether these spaces mainly indicate temporal preferences among users or are associated with different usage practices and motives. To do so, we conducted two case studies of the Reddit community r/gameofthrones: a survey about usage motives (n = 417) and an automated content analysis of approximately 1.2 million comments left on the episode discussion threads in which we examined thread use over time, interactions between users, and discussion content. The results revealed differing usage motives and practices for the three thread types, illustrating the distinct function that these communication spaces fulfil for users.


Unkel, J., & Kümpel, A. S. (in press). (A)synchronous communication about TV series on social media: A multi-method investigation of Reddit discussions. Media and Communication.