Tech Savvy Researcher Feature: The Rise of Social TV

Merging our Media-Tech world to see it “through the eyes of our friends”

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was the last great book recommendation I got. This is a nostalgia shot, people, because that sentiment is a double-whammy two-for of things that just don’t happen anymore: paper-page book reading, and getting recommendations directly from another person. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a bard of progress, so of course this is not a sad story of the way things used to be, but a promising indicator of good things to come. I recommended the book to a friend who is a regular reviewer on GoodReads, an app popular among book-savvy social networkers, and voila – the modern form of recommendation (via social networking) abounds, and a great book reaches a wider audience.

Recently, according to, the online industry has been humming with app development and acquisition to support this emerging consumer habit for a much more popular medium: television. Abuzz with trends like the second screen, Facebook’s new search and check-in capabilities, and an industry all vying for a piece of our TV-viewing process, Social TV is emerging as a summative concept, tying together the scattered aspects of our tech and media worlds.

The app industry has been busy making the second screen (the smartphone or tablet we tote while watching TV) more interactive. Apps like Miso, GetGlue, and the Yahoo-acquired IntoNow (see LINKS section) allow us to check and organize programming, vote for “Zombie-Kill of the Week” on Walking Dead, and find a song or even a dress we like on Dancing with the Stars, enhancing the second screen experience. Miso has now even taken it a step further with its Quips app – allowing users to screen-capture favorite TV moments, caption and share them with friends.

Social TV Research Quips



The Second Screen Grows Increasingly Social

Not surprisingly, Facebook is at the forefront of Social TV. Those of us in the Northeast have spent the past several days (not necessarily by choice) glued to both our news channel and our smartphone or tablet, monitoring both when the roads would be clear enough to leave the house and how many feet of snow our neighbors and friends got – predominantly with photographic evidence of measurement via status update (“3 feet in Boston, people!”).

Facebook’s upcoming graph search will provide capability to extend that to what our friends are watching, of course. But also, interestingly, the super-site is now working on a check-in capability that would not be limited to simple places (“- in Boston, MA”), but extend to TV programming (“- watching The Weather Channel”). All part of an initiative Facebook product manager Josh Williams sees as “imagining new ways to see the world through the eyes of our friends.”

And while the Twitters and Nielsens dig their heals into social TV (with acquisitions like social TV analytics company Bluefin Labs and Facebook/Twitter TV tracker SocialGuide, respectively), Facebook remains decidedly in charge with 46% of people who choose TV programming based on online opinions and recommendations doing so because of status updates. Tweets came in just as decidedly second, with a participation trophy-worthy 14%.

 Social TV Research Chart

So while the waning days of personal recommendations dowse me in a shroud of wistful meandering, I take solace in opportunity to immediately practice what I have just preached – the newsfeed’s been blowing up, people. I hear the new hotness is Downton Abbey.

Here goes.

Do you watch based on what you click? Let us know in the comments section below.


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