When it comes to your favorite TV show, it turns out Twitter is kind of irrelevant. These days, it seems like show execs are all about social media branding. Just look at the uproar caused about Shonda Rhimes How to Get Away With Murder when critics complained the title was too long to hashtag. Having an easily type-able hashtag, actors to live tweet, and witty comments on the show's main account during its air time have all seemed like very important things for the success of a program, but a new study from Strategy Analytics shows that all the effort that goes into a show's Twitter account may not be worth it. Apparently, "only 18 percent of people with Internet access follow TV shows on Twitter while they watch them."
That's right, those heated views on Twitter represent less than 20 percent of a program's audience. This finding could totally change the way the Twitter + TV approach works because according to the study's analyst David Mercer, "strategies heavily focused on this [are] a big waste as it's irrelevant to over 80 percent of TV viewers."
The small fraction of viewers posting on Twitter not only messes with marketing, but it calls into question the opinions people have on television shows. Many people on Twitter, myself included, feel validated knowing how we feel about a show is shared by others.
But if my opinion is only shared by 18 percent of the viewers, it's actually in the minority. Maybe the 82 percent not on Twitter actually loved the How I Met Your Mother finale. That would change everything.
Or how about when Breaking Bad ended and got an overwhelmingly positive review on Twitter?
We now know there are tons of unaccounted-for opinions on that episode. Perhaps they wanted Walter to live. Or Jesse to die. Maybe they thought everything was super unbelievable and they're really disappointed with the finale.
I feel like everything I know is a lie if I can't trust Twitter opinions to be the majority. Sure, that 82 percent could feel the same way as the 18 percent online, but how will we ever know for sure? With Twitter marketing essentially useless, TV execs better figure out a better way to target the rest of their viewers. Maybe they'll even find a clever way to get that 82 percent online, because I just have to know if my feelings about a major plot twist are shared across the fan base. Because really, if something major happens in a show and no one feels the same way, did it even happen?
Image: CBS; reactiongifs