Social media is not only influencing politics. It's also impacting what television programs Americans watch.
A new study released moments ago by Nielsen found that Twitter activity can cause "statistically significant changes in Live TV Ratings":
Analyzing minute-to-minute trends in Nielsen’s Live TV Ratings and Tweets for 221 broadcast primetime program episodes using Nielsen’s SocialGuide, the findings show that Live TV ratings had a statistically significant impact in related Tweets among 48 percent of the episodes sampled, and that the volume of Tweets caused statistically significant changes in Live TV Ratings among 29 percent of the episodes. The time series analysis methodology used for this study was developed by Nobel Prize-winning economist Clive Granger, and is widely used in the fields of econometrics, physics, and neuroscience, among others. [...]
"These results substantiate what many of our TV partners have been telling us anecdotally for years: namely, that Twitter drives tune-in, especially for live, linear television programming,” said Ali Rowghani, Twitter’s Chief Operating Officer. “As the world's preeminent real-time social communication medium, Twitter is a complementary tool for broadcasters to engage their audience, drive conversation about their programming, and increase tune-in."
Donato pointed out that media companies and advertisers are making substantial investments in social media to take advantage of this. One can only imagine those investments will increase as a result of Nielsen's findings.
On the other hand, might media exploitation of this platform at some point diminish its impact?
Consider the likelihood that you are now going to see more tweets in your timeline about TV programs currently airing. Mightn't folks start getting numb to such tweets much as they do commercials?
Only time will tell.
Until that happens, expect to see A LOT MORE TV-related tweets in the coming weeks and months.