Are You Doing Your Part To Save Twitter?

An Ad Age story this week said there's evidence that Twitter's audience of people who tweet while they watch TV isn't growing as quickly as Twitter might like, "especially during big TV events that advertisers like to buy," according to Cotton Delo. Still, Delo then provided numerous examples where tweeting has increased during big TV events like The Grammys, the mid-season premiere of "The Walking Dead" and The Golden Globes. It seems the only big event really tanking tweet-wise is the profoundly meaningless, narcissistic NBA All-Star Game.  However, tweets for the over-in-the-first-snap Super Bowl were pretty flat, probably because the audience fled en masse to “Downton Abbey.” No mention of the Olympics, probably because the reporter didn't want to get sued for using the name during the hyperbolic Protect-the-Sponsors marketing blackout period.

I generally don't pay much attention to Big Event tweets, although the traffic during last year's Super Bowl "lighting malfunction" was pretty funny, at least among the folks I follow. I am generally too absorbed by things like what in the hell Matthew McConaughey is talking about in any given moment of "True Detective" -- or waiting patiently for somebody to tell Lady Mary she is such a buzz-kill that even a broken-down estate turning pig farm is not fair compensation enough to marry her.

Actually, I have recorded those shows and am watching them long after the live twitter discussion. Not the same as live events -- where, ironically, there are so many commercials that you have plenty of time to mute them and tweet away.

But I find Twitter to be invaluable for nearly everything other than big TV events that advertisers like to buy, like tracking the scores of high school football or basketball games I couldn't get to, or apologies from Metro-North Railroad for screwing up the commute (again). It's also useful for complaining, like when you go to CVS and picking up a prescription takes an hour in line because only one of the six people behind the counter bothers to attend to customers. Not that corporate sees the tweets and calls the store and says "What the hell?" But that's the fantasy.

Twitter has pretty much replaced email as a primary means of communication among the press corps, who seem to do little else but tweet their own stories, retweet other's stories and comment on what it all means. It you follow enough reporters on your Tweetdeck, you pretty much know what will be online in the next few hours or in tomorrow's paper. Trending is the new herd mentality.

Oddly, I don't mind sponsored tweets. I find I read more of them than not, and have even responded to a few because they are generally pretty well-targeted. I suppose that should concern me on some deep-privacy level, but it doesn't, since I know that the NSA and that hacker guy in "House of Cards" already have the goods on me (and you) anyway. (Helpful spoiler alert: Stop texting whomever you are having an affair with).

Analysts who track Twitter have said, "Although it may be too early to conclude, the current subscriber trends do suggest that Twitter may be maturing in the U.S." That's the kind of thing that tanks the stock for a few days, sending ad reporters to see how that will impact Twitter’s performance as an ad platform.

So if you want to do your part to save Twitter (or at least its tune-in biz), crank it during the big TV events that advertisers like to buy, since there aren't enough of us who care if the Central High School Hilltoppers can finish 17-1.

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