Twitter and Nielsen, the company responsible for establishing current TV ratings and audience size, made a joint announcement today in regards to the creation of a new metric. What data could these two seemingly unrelated companies possibly have to share? It just so happens that people who have said Twitter was merely a distraction and would never last could not have been more wrong. This new metric, dubbed "Neilsen Twitter TV Rating," will start with TV programming in Fall 2013 and measure the amount of tweets and viewer engagement on Twitter for a given television show in real-time.
With 85% of tablet and smartphone owners using their device while watching TV, it appears as if this new metric is a no-brainer and will go a long way with supplementing the existing method for compiling television ratings. It also seems inevitable that networks and shows will now actually start pushing mobile usage even more with possible apps and other interactive incentives for tweeting-while-viewing. It still remains to be seen how much weight this new metric will play in networks' decisions to extend or cancel a TV show, however it does not sound too far-fetched to believe we'll see the day a program is taken off the air just because there were not enough people tweeting about it.
Is this just a sign of things to come in the future? Will we eventually determine elections based on the number of likes they have on Facebook or rate a product based on the number of re-pins it has on Pinterest? Whatever the case may be, this whole "social media" phenomenon looks like it may be sticking around for quite a while.