Over the last couple of years the way we watch TV has been revolutionised, with shows such as ‘Notting Hill’ and the ‘Million Pound Drop’ using social media as an integral element of the show.

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Twitter, and to some extent Facebook, have allowed us to interact with our favourite programmes in real time. These platforms allow two-way communication enabling us to feel closer to the show, interact with characters, find out the latest behind the scenes gossip and become TV critics (all within the 140 character limit of course).

That’s why, as an avid X Factor fan I was excited to hear about the latest partnership between Twitter and the X Factor USA. For the first time in the show’s history viewers can cast their vote by following the X Factor USA and using the direct message function to help decide which contestants stay and which don’t. Only votes sent through private messages will be counted.

Twitter and other social media platforms have long been a part of X Factor with members of the public only too keen to voice their opinions on contestants and the judges but there is little doubt that this new partnership brings a new dynamic to the entire show.

The option to vote via Twitter, was said by Chloe Sladden, a key figure in setting up the partnership, to illustrate a shift “from focusing just on engagement” — getting users to talk about TV — “to getting into the creative fabric of shows and letting the audience help change the outcomes.”

In my humble opinion the most profound element of allowing people to use Twitter to vote, is that this represents a shift from paying to vote through premium phone calls or texts, something which gained a lot of controversy in the UK, to social media, a far cheaper alternative, which is hoped to extend the shows audience base and will no doubt encourage more viewers to vote.

With ratings for the show lower than hoped by music mogul Simon Cowell, it appears the X Factor USA is the latest show to be using social media to help save it.

We’d like to know what you think, is this a smart decision by Simon Cowell and the X Factor team?