Television programming has always been a popular subject for water cooler conversations at work, so it doesn’t take too much imagination to think that social media and television are a match made in heaven.

But according to a survey conducted by online television hub SideReel, expectations about social media and television may be a little bit too high.

The company polled 1,800 of its users, nearly 80% of whom reported that they watch more than five hours of television online each week. Only 25% of them indicated that they were interested in seeing what their friends are watching on television. Even fewer (10%) are interested in sharing what they’re watching.

SideReel called the results “unexpected.” And for good reason: the 25% figure cited above dropped 50% from the previous year. Such a large drop in a single year can mean one of two things: something is funky with SideReel’s numbers or survey methodology, or consumers are losing interest in watching television while socializing.

If we assume that the latter is true to some extent, it may have a lot to do with the user experience. As ReadWriteWeb has noted, hit U.S. television show Glee has seen built a unique engagement model that seems to be resonating with fans, particularly those on Twitter. In the face of SideReel’s survey, Glee’s success with social would seems to be an indication that television producers hoping to spark buzz on social communities like Twitter and Facebook are going to have to meet consumers half way by creating social experiences in their shows themselves.

In other words, social media television, like social media marketing, is not a passive undertaking. If you want results, you have to work hard to stand out.

Photo credit: .reid. via Flickr.