Twitter As The Second Screen

It's no longer important just to watch and focus on a TV show or its commercials. According to Twitter, I should be thinking, "Sure, I'm watching this show, but what are other people thinking about it?"

Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, wants Twitter be the main "second screen" to the traditional TV screen. Makes sense. I have two eyes.

Maybe this is TV fact-checking at its finest. Twitter would like to make sure I'm always bouncing my prescient thoughts off other people. Seems that marketers want some of this engagement.

What this really says is that the first screen may not be as Important anymore. I don't need to give my full attention to "The Good Wife," "The Vampire Diaries," Fox News, or the New York Giants versus the San Francisco 49ers, because it just isn't 100% of what it's cracked up to be.

“We used to have a filtered, one-way view of events in the world from the media...," says Costolo. "Now with Twitter, people want to know what everyone else thinks and we’re getting this inside-out, multi-perspective view of what’s going on right now as it happens from everybody else that’s watching the same thing we’re watching.”



Maybe it's just shorter -- or lazier-- attention spans. Is that bad? Even the networks have figured this out, what with growing on-screen clutter, other program graphics, "bugs," swipes, and yes, for news shows, tweets and messages at the bottom of the screen.

The remedy:  People need context -- because they can't concentrate in the first place. Marketers? In between and around all these, there can be messages to grab a precious few seconds or minutes of attention.

Social media companies that add that context and value do well.  And, most of all, no one wants to feel alone in TVland. Give people more screens, which equates to more friends and approval.

3 comments about "Twitter As The Second Screen".
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  1. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, October 16, 2012 at 4:45 p.m.

    Twitter's really stretching the point. And, yes, some brands will buy of on it because they've been suckered into the "consumers want to become engaged with you" theory. But, in reality the heaviest Twitter use during TV shows includes such exciting tweets as "Going to the store tomorrow #emptycupboard", "Work bites. Gotta start searching. #needajob", and "Mom and dad just don't get why I need a new iPhone. #teenangst".

  2. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, October 16, 2012 at 4:48 p.m.

    It's not just for the benefit of the viewer. Producers and networks might appreciate faster feedback about scripts, characters, and scheduling, so they need not wait for sliding ratings to figure out what's going wrong with a show.

  3. John Grono from GAP Research, October 17, 2012 at 6:35 p.m.

    DF, while that may be true for unscripted, live or reality programmes (though I doubt it), the lead times for quality scripted, acted, directed and produced content make that an impossibility. Leave it to the professionals who created the ideas in the first place who will use ratings, tweets, press, social media to evolve their content. There is a (probably apochryphal) of a trial of live TV ratings in one of the South American countries. During a live talent show the producers noticed the ratings plummeting during some poor woman's act so they pulled her off the air. It turns out that there had been a power outage!

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