Social Enterprise

Smartphone, Twitter, TV remote: Why telly must tune in to social media

When social networks and live television collide…

The mass TV-watching phenomenon is back with shows like The X Factor. Combine those audiences with the immediacy of Twitter and you have a powerful cultural shift, says Tony Hallett.

I spent a lot of Mobile World Congress this year using Twitter - both reading what other people were saying, from or about the event, and posting updates. But that kind of interaction with a live event is nothing compared with what's happening as social media and live TV increasingly collide.

The evening of day one was my first chance to hear relatively new Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. He was one of the more entertaining speakers at the show - and possibly one of the least relevant.

He said: "Twitter already works on almost everything you're going to hear about this week." And he argued for greater consistency of experience from one device to another.

A couple of stats stand out from his presentation:

  1. Some 40 per cent of all tweets come from mobile devices.
  2. Some 50 per cent of active Twitter users tweet from more than one platform.

I can see how those points are true - and the percentages are likely to increase. There are plenty of us with a work laptop, personal laptop or computer, smartphone and perhaps a tablet or a netbook. Switching from one to another, often using a Twitter app rather than the Twitter.com site, doesn't warrant a second thought.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo says 50 per cent of active Twitter users tweet from more than one platform

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo says 50 per cent of active Twitter users tweet from more than one platform
Photo: David Berkowitz

Where mobile and Twitter do profoundly meet - and it might be via a tablet or netbook on a lap in the living room rather than a phone on the move - is when people watch TV.

Over a number of years, television watching has become time-shifted. The big change was the emergence of the PVR to supplant old video recorders - a lot of PVRs are more DVRs, but that's another conversation.

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