These days, conversations about TV shows are increasingly taking place online. You could argue that in many way social media has become the digital version of the water cooler, the main difference being that you can chat with A LOT more people about your favorite shows. (In my experience, it’s totally true. When I have shows on my DVR queue, I steer clear of Twitter; it’s a spoiler minefield.)

This level of real-time engagement has caused a shift in TV watching habits. Apps like TunerFish and GetGlue that allow people to “check in” what they’re watching are attracting a lot of attention. In fact, GetGlue reported a 130 percent user growth this summer and clocked in 11.7 million check-ins in August. A few TV show producers must have noticed the value of social media too, as several shows now run a Twitter hashtag at the bottom of the screen as a way to centralize online conversations.

That leads us to this week’s question: How exactly can marketers leverage the socialization of TV watching? In what ways can they creatively engage with fans while adding to the overall value of the show? (We’ve previously seen programs like Mad Men create Twitter accounts for their characters, which was inventive but ultimately too one-sided.) In addition, where should marketers or advertisers be focusing their outreach efforts – on the shows themselves, on social media, both?

From one TV junkie to another, I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments!