The importance of Twitter for social tv

By Mattia Nicoletti

Twitter is the king of social tv.

It represents the easiest, fastest and most natural way to comment tv shows on second screens and to have conversations with other viewers. It is very similar to the short comments two people do when they are watching a movie at the cinema.

In 2012, on Twitter, chatting about tv has grown 800% (compared to 2011) and 2 weeks ago even Nielsen, usually measuring tv ratings, decided to partner with Twitter for working together on a social tv rating index.

But has Twitter something to do with ratings?

In the last months many studies tried to analyse if there is a link between the number of viewers and the number of social comments. For some of them the answer was affermative, some others, on the contrary they couldn’t find an answer.

Nielsen, Tv networks, and adv investors are surely interested in a link between tv ratings and social tv comments, but in my opinion the real power of Twitter is, first of all, its ability to enhance watching experience, and sometimes this experience can be bound to bad tv shows.

Let’s make an example. I don’t like Jersey Shore because that’s trashy to me, but sometimes I watch it because the tweets when the show is on air are so funny. This is for me an experience. An experience created by the mix of watching and commenting.

Another compelling experience is commenting on Twitter a tv show with the talents (i.e. Glee). Having a conversation with somebody you are watching at the same time on the screen means for the viewers something unique and very valuable.

Tv networks have to focus in creating experiences because an experience multiplies the value of a brand and, coming to social networks, it can improve the buzz.

Twitter, for this reason, is looking for a Manager of Tv Relationships who should become an ambassador of social tv in the Hollywood world in order to involve talents to tweet about their tv show and to create together with tv networks new projects (read this interesting article written by Ryan Lawler on

A the end maybe ratings are coming, who knows, but the real value comes first of all from the experience.

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