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Twitter CEO: We’re the ‘Social Soundtrack’ of TV–By Design
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Twitter CEO: We’re the ‘Social Soundtrack’ of TV–By Design

Twitter has become the “social soundtrack” of TV because it’s a new media company that’s comfortable with old media, CEO Dick Costolo said Tuesday.

“We absolutely view it as complementary and view it as an additive world – not a world where you have to take a piece out,” Costolo said at Nielsen’s Consumer 360 conference in Phoenix.

TV has always been social – whether it was families gathered around their TVs or co-workers discussing the previous night’s shows – and the social chatter surrounding TV broadcasts fits in with that tradition, Costolo said.

Right now, Twitter is the only public real-time distributed conversational platform, and TV programmers are integrating hashtags and social conversations into their shows.

Twitter also has the ability to extend the reach of television, with the number of tweets about specific shows multiplying as much as 100 times during first-run broadcasts, Costolo said.

“And when a show ends there’s a long tail, hours and hours long, of conversation on the show,” he said.

The immediacy of Twitter also allows for real-time town hall reaction, as seen in last year’s presidential debates. Instead of talking to a small focus group of Americans in-studio after the debates, TV networks asked audiences to tweet with specific hashtags to register their reactions. As the tweets flashed on-screen, viewers were able to see the nation react in real time instead of getting a filtered analysis from the broadcasters.

Costolo believes that Twitter creates an inside-out view of the content where one no longer hears from third-party filters, but hears from those involved while an event is happening and that information is unfiltered and multidirectional.

There are lessons here for marketers. Those that engage in real-time conversation and create a campaigns based on the “soundtrack” of Twitter will win and create incredible earned media assets like Tide did during the Daytona 500 and like Oreo did during the Super Bowl blackout.

The challenge for Twitter going forward will be to create simple on-ramps for those who want to listen, then show them how to publish while not losing the enthusiasm of their core users, said Costolo, who views Twitter as the “global town square.”

“It is absolutely our goal to reach every person on the planet.”

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