I watch a lot of television and I follow a lot of people on Twitter who also watch a lot of television. Before I had an iPhone, though, I couldn’t understand how people could send out twenty tweets a night commenting on TV shows as they aired. Then I got an iPhone and it all became clear.
With an iPhone, it’s so easy to share important thoughts with the world like, “What’s up with that carpenter wearing a suit and tie? He looks like Dr. Who! #americasnextgreatrestaurant” and how I feel about the song choices of this year’s American Idol contestants. At least my Tweets have some substance.
According to this nifty chart from emarketer, many people who Tweet while they watch TV, don’t tweet about TV at all. They tweet about the fact that they’re bored or that they’re eating or thinking about going to bed and 9% of them apparently Tweet about the fact that they’re Tweeting while watch watching TV. (Sometimes I fear for the future of our civilization as a whole.)
Facebook also gets its share of multi-tasker updates, with 52% of those people making a statement of fact such as “I’m watching Hogs Gone Wild!” But that number might actually be higher if you counted the updates, rather than surveyed the users, because of apps like Get Glue. When you check in to a TV show there (a new habit of mine), you can set it to update your Twitter or Facebook with that statement of fact.
What does all of this mean? It means that social media and websurfing may have replaced snacking as the top activity people do while watching TV. That’s good news for marketers for a lot of reasons, the biggest one being immediacy. Now that I watch TV with my phone in my hand, I’m more likely to tell my friends about the fun Old Navy commercial I just watched or how much I love the song playing on Smallville (what is it and where can I buy it?).
And not only are people Tweeting while watching, they’re also reading Tweets so now that you know I’m watching American Idol, this would be a good time to pitch that Steven Tyler t-shirt you’re selling. Go ahead, I won’t mind. Because the good news / bad news about Twitter is that minutes after you’ve sent me your pitch, it’s already out of sight and out of mind.