(Written for MTV Sticky)

Watching TV used to be a time when you could get together with the family and watch your favourite show. Now, in the days of ultra-technology, we no longer just simply sit and watch; we have to play.

Just as Charlie Brooker explored in his recent TV series, Black Mirror, we spend a large part of our days looking at a digital screen. Whether it be your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, there are a number of ways in which we communicate with others and consumers communicate with us.

But it’s not just about looking at a single screen anymore; now whilst we are watching television we are also likely to find ourselves enjoying a ‘second screen experience’, or a gamified experience. It may just be that you update your Facebook status or send a tweet about what you are watching, but some applications are going even further still, as they attempt to interact with you on a more personal level as they try to involve you in a game.

Zeebox is one of the most recently successful applications to do this. Defining itself as “Your TV sidekick”, Zeebox has created an online community where you can socialise with others watching the same program as you, whilst it also helps you to get the most of what you are watching.

Did you like the dress that one of the Made In Chelsea stars were wearing in this week’s episode? Zeebox will to tell you where to buy it. Are you currently really into one of Channel 4’s latest comedy series? Zeebox can link you straight to it on iTunes. The whole experience becomes an interactive game of ‘I spy/I want.’

From an advertising view it’s a phenomenon, allowing broadcasters to have more consumer time with their audience. There are many other examples of gamification in the television industry too, including Shazam which shows you behind-the-scenes footage from the show, GetGlue where you can ‘check-in’ to shows and earn badges and IntoNow which displays related social-network updates and live discussions, which is great for when you’re watching the football as it shows you the game statistics.

Through such second screen experiences, it’s fair to say that we are becoming increasingly involved with what we watch.

(Image courtesy of here).