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By Jamie Butow
How many times have you started watching your favorite TV show and heard an announcer say, "Sync your mobile device to blah blah blah .com now for your second screen experience."
Watching TV is now more than just watching TV. Networks are all but standing on their heads to get audiences engaged with programming.
A year ago we were talking about social TV -- how many tweets and social media mentions a show received.
But the social TV experience isn't just about incorporating ways to tweet or chat in real-time with content; it's about offering more ways to get more from and offer feedback for that content.
Hence the term "second screen."
Second Screen is the use of an additional monitor (e.g. tablet, smartphone) while watching TV. It allows the audience to interact with what they're watching.
Second screen experiences often include things like quizzes and behind-the-scenes information. Many post trivia about the actors, and photos taken from that day on the set.
The USA Network also has contests fans can enter to win trips to special fan appreciation events.
USA has recently begun airing ABC's hit comedy "Modern Family," and released what they call a "rich second screen experience" to accompany it.
Their USA Anywhere App features second screen content to most of their shows -- original programming and syndication.
The app links viewers to online conversations, polls and if you link it to your social media account, it shows you what your friends are watching.
Who does this?
Hard to say, but second screen app GetGlue has four million registered users. And Mashable reported that 87 percent of consumers operate at least one mobile device while watching TV, according to the consumer market research firm NPD.
The goal of GetGlue "is to connect people socially around their favorite shows, help them stay in touch and get cool GIFs, memes, videos, recaps, news about the shows and lastly help people find new things to watch."
Aside from those on USA Network, shows with strong second screen followings include "The Voice;" AMC's "The Walking Dead," "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad;" "Survivor;" and live awards shows like the Emmy's.
And that list barely scratches the surface.
NBC even developed a game show that builds on the second screen.
Viewers on "Million Second Quiz" were able to tune in to a 24/7 live stream, play along at home in real time and use the second screen to sync alongside the prime-time broadcast. According to www.nbc.com, more than 44,000 online "Million Second Quiz" games have been played by people in Bakersfield.
It's clear that content creators, distributors and networks understand that TV viewers multitask while watching a show.
Are there second screen apps that you use?
More information is available at Capturekerncounty.com/challenges/portraits.
The final social media wrap-up was posted on Monday. Thanks to everyone who tagged their public Twitter, Facebook and Instagram posts with #kcfair and #kerncountyfair.
We had some fabulous shots from the final weekend of the fair, including more from high-atop the rides, and of some animals who were born at the fair.
Check on the weekend posts at BakersfieldCalifornian.com/columnists.