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Four Ways Social Media Will Change Television

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At NewTeeVee Live, Robin Sloan talked about how Twitter is fast becoming the global TV watercooler. Certainly, the power of Twitter to facilitate real-time conversation during live viewing — as illustrated by Sloan — is impressive. As I discuss in my weekly update at GigaOM Pro (subscription required), there is no doubt that the broader integration of social media like Twitter into and around TV content is creating new opportunities in four areas: viewing, measurement, curation and commerce.

Let’s take a look at each.

Social Viewing

While the early social viewing implementations have largely been Mystery Science Theater 3000 knockoffs, the real action for viewing parties is at Twitter. The network’s real-time nature allows for interaction and surprise for fans who want to engage with others during the live-viewing experience. This isn’t to say that Facebook won’t show up at the shared viewing party, though.


Sloan’s presentation displayed fascinating visuals on how Tweet activity changes in live show windows (for example, the chart below, which shows Tweet activity during the first episode of this season’s Dancing With the Stars). This is a gold mine of information for brand marketers and TV execs looking to understand, down to the minute, how people react to different parts of different shows.

Source: Twitter


While curation is a big topic on the consumer web, it really hasn’t hit the video world yet. Startups like Shortform and Redux are beginning to enable curation of video content, but it won’t be long before personalized video channels will be created for TV viewing. This means not only do we get to look forward to creating our own channels someday, but may have to suffer through some media personalities becoming their own broadcasters.


Much of the hot startup activity in the web world in 2010 has been all about commerce on the computer screen, but it’s logical to think as connectivity goes to the best screen in the house, social commerce will also become social TV commerce. Imagine a social overlay on top of a QVC channel or even a lifestyle channel with a highly desirable demographic. The ability for a brand to offer a TV-based “Groupon” type offer and that also allowed a person to share with their own social graph could be highly compelling.

Read the full post here.

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7 Responses to “Four Ways Social Media Will Change Television”

  1. Michael, Spot on all the way we are seeing this too. I did a spot on “Content Curation: Advocates, Influencers and Relevance” Were looking at the cross affinities TV shows have with other content being shared creating what we call the Content Consumption graph “Influencer, Content Intelligence and Social Engagement” Were doing some slick real time work when it comes to the social resonance of media properties see what get the most buzz and what other in common content is also benefiting from the community social interaction.


  2. I find the data measurement potential of TV & Social Viewing both important and fascintating – especially being able to know exactly what people are responding to, how they are responding, why they are responding, etc. “What” and “How” are important but they also fairly simple to ascertain. I think the “Why” is this most intriguing and is crucial to really understanding and advising brands, advertisers, producers, etc. on “What and “How.”

    My Point: “Why” is not simply circumstantially inspired alone, it has multiple facets that are wrapped up in “Who” that person is. The data collectors are going to have to take it deeper in the PEOPLE who are creating the data to get the full basis for a “statistic.” I’m sure it’s being done to an extent – even if it’s simply a quick analysis pull from their twitter bios to get a demographic. To really know “who” someone is (presenting themselves on Twitter at least!), we need to pull their full tweet stream as well as figure out who they are talking to most, what they are talking about the most, what they are not talking about at all the most, etc…better to just build a tool that pulls what you want from all of the data the social platforms make available to devs and build a demographic and personality category dossier on everybody…

    Queue creepy music…but heh, if they/we/I put it out there, it’s data for the taking. We all have to remember that everything we do online can and will be mined. Sometimes I search my name and shake my head…LOL.

    :), @zaneology

  3. “While curation is a big topic on the consumer web, it really hasn’t hit the video world yet” has been enabling video curation since 2006, with almost 100,000 sites and hundreds of millions of videos having been curated.

    • Thanks for the heads up on In my mind, they are much more of a B2B play than a B2C (in the sense they’re platform is targeted at, say, a New York Magazine to embed video selections on their site rather than have consumers curate video. This, to me, isn’t all that different than most OVPs in my opinion).

      And from what I can see Magnify has not yet created a solution for consumers to do this for their living room TV. Living-room centric curated video channels on the TV screen is when this becomes pretty interesting from a social TV perspective.

  4. You really need to check out The company has been enabling video curation for a few years. Check out sites line New York Magazine ( They’re a very effective and successful online video curator. Anyone can create their own curation channel on the platform–83,000 channels and counting.