Twitter’s Robin Sloan took the stage today at NewTeeVee conference to talk about TV and Twitter. He began his talk with the bold statement that a good percentage of the 90m million tweets per day are television related (he wouldn’t say exactly how many), with Twitter peak times happening during real-time broadcast TV prime time. “Twitter is the new EPG,” he proclaimed.
Sloan elaborates on this for TechCrunch, “We’ve been talking about ‘interactive TV’ for 20 years, waiting for the magic box or platform to finally emerge. But maybe Twitter is actually the platform for interactive TV? It’s simple, increasingly ubiquitous, works on any platform… and everybody’s already using it to talk about TV.”
Sloan also provided examples of media brands using Twitter to moderate the TV experience, separating Twitter integration into three categories.
Synchronous show tweeting
Sloan brought up the Discovery Channel and the Twitter integration around their show LIFE @lifeondiscovery, where Discovery prompted people to tweet out their own discoveries using the #mydiscovery hashtag, as an example of “synchronous show tweeting.” Sloan also counts stuff like the the cast of Jersey Shore tweeting during new Jersey Shore episodes in this category, which basically includes any Twitter use that provides a running commentary track for TV shows.
Shows like BET’s @106andpark “puppeteer the experience of viewing” like no one else, Sloan said. He gave the show props onstage for curating a space for all users watching live to tweet and then actually integrating the viewer tweets it commandeered (under hashtags like #neverthat) into the show. This kind of social viewing makes people feel like “they’re not alone on the couch eating a bag of Cheetos.”
New kinds of content
Twitter is also changing what we consider content. Sloan brought up the example of how MTV hired TJ (Twitter Jockey) Gabi Gregg to perform “conversation coreography” or steer the Twitter conversation around this year’s VMA Awards using hashtags like #whenbiebermetgaga. Aside from the 2.3 million tweets total under the #VMA hashtag, this year’s deeply Twitter integrated VMAs raked in over 11 million viewers, MTV’s largest VMA viewership numbers since 2002.
Since what’s happening on television is such a crucial part of collective conversation and therefore Twitter, it difficult to gage exactly how the full potential of Twitter’s relationship with TV will play out. There were even rumors of Twitter starting its own TV show at some point. Says Sloan about the microblogging service’s future, “It’s not just supplementing content, it’s changing it. It’s taking all this stuff and piping it back in.“
Image: Just Jared