Project Runway Uses Twitter to Keep Viewers “In”

“As you know in fashion, one day you’re in. And the next you’re out.” Heidi Klum’s famous tagline has been a show staple since its inception. True to form, Project Runway has always been about what’s “in.” The design competition, which is now in its ninth season, thrives off creating what’s both current and innovative in fashion. Thus, it’s no surprise that the show has now begun to utilize social media to its advantage, too. And with a Twitter following of nearly 83,000, it’s clear that Project Runway is garnering increased viewer involvement. From a viewer’s perspective, here are a few of the advantages of the show’s use of Twitter:

Viewers Watch in Real Time

Because the weekly Twitter chats happen in real time, viewers who closely follow the show will want to watch in real time, too. Over the past several years, the rise in DVR recorders and online hosts have enabled viewers to record their favorite shows, enjoying them after the original air date with no or limited commercials. However, Project Runway viewers are now further compelled to tune in on Thursday nights at 9/8 central time. Additionally, when they use the #projectrunway hashtag in their tweets, they’re discussing their thoughts on the show with tens of thousands of other viewers.

Viewers Communicate with Judges and Contestants

Through the chats, two-way communication is enabled between those involved in the show and the viewers. When asked during last week’s Twitter chat, Nina Garcia (@ninagarcia), Marie Claire fashion director and judge, confirmed that she doesn’t see the workroom footage until the show actually airs. In confessing that she watches much of the show for the first time, too, Nina placed herself in the same position as the show’s viewers, allowing for a more natural flow of conversation. Similarly, Anya (@AnyadeRogue) and Anthony Ryan (@ryanauld) especially are known for using the chats to thank viewers for their votes and compliments. To their own benefit, other designers are starting to pick up on the trend, too, sounding off on their thoughts about the current episode.

Viewers Vote for Their Favorite Designers

This season, Project Runway has also brought back the Fan Favorite competition. The show has registered a hashtag, such as #PR9joshuam, for each of the contestants. Not only are these hashtags used during the chats to discuss the designers, but they’re also used to vote. According to the competition’s rules, each hashtag incorporated into a tweet counts as a vote, with only one vote counted every five minutes. All twenty of the season’s designers qualify, and whomever has the most votes by the season’s finale will be awarded $10,000. As some of the designers are apparently realizing, the prize is worth some tweeting on their ends!

Viewers Follow Their Favorite Designers

In addition to voting for their favorite designers and incorporating their hashtags into tweets, viewers can now follow their favorite designers, too. Not only do designers build a Twitter following, but their accounts usually include their websites, too. Consequently, Twitter followers can continue to invest more time – and eventually capital – in supporting the designers’ efforts and future collections. Since several of the show’s best designers use Twitter to their advantage anyway, the social media site’s full impact is tough to gauge. Still, through Twitter, the reputations of the designers who are cut from the show certainly won’t diminish as quickly.

Regardless of which designers stay in this week, it’s quite clear that Project Runway’s decision to use Twitter will keep viewers “in” all season long!

Posted by Janie Sikes, PRSSA-UD Meetings Director. Find out more about Janie by visiting her personal blog at http://janiesikes.wordpress.com/ or tweet with her @JanieSikes.

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