‘How I Met Your Mother’s’ Social TV Legacy

By Jordan Chariton 

HIMYMThey’ve dated, broken up, lost touch, reunited, and created many “legendary” moments over the last nine years, and tonight CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother” airs its series finale with a special one-hour episode.

Other than having a legacy as one of modern day TV’s most successful shows, “HIMYM” also has a unique legacy as one of the longest running shows that debuted well before the social TV era took off.

At the time of its premiere in in 2005, Facebook was still an infant. Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterist, and all the rest were still unborn. And the show did not have the same social media assist today’s hits do. It didn’t benefit from social media promotion before and in between episodes. Stars weren’t able to tweet with fans, or Instagram photos from the show. And behind-the-scenes folks didn’t have the luxury of launching social media campaigns to increase engagement.

“How I Met Your Mother is one of those shows that combines great writing and a solid cast, something that’s unfortunately not the norm with the majority of shows on television,” said David Neuman, social media manager at Prime Visibility, adding that the show’s ability to connect in such a strong way made the fact that it launched pre-social media less important.

“Same thing was the case for classics like The Sopranos, Seinfeld, The Simpsons (amongst many other TV shows). It makes sense that shows viewed as the most popular pre-social media are the same ones generating the most amount of buzz across social media.”

Another element of the the show’s success is how social TV has changed traditional water-cooler talk.

“HIMYM started in the days of scheduled viewing, but now viewers can catch it on-demand and still be current with the show. Their use of social media now reflects the past water cooler talk that was already happening,” said Ben Chodor, CEO of Sherpa Digital Media. “They created great content that sparks a conversation — that conversation moved from the water cooler to tweeting along with the show.”

Fans last chance to tweet along with HIMYM is tonight at 8pmET.