Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

So Just Why Was Pretty Little Liars the #1 Tweeted Series for 2010?

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Number 2???

Let’s be honest, there are better shows out there – True Blood, The Walking Dead, Mad Men etc and all except Mad Men made the Television Twitter Trend Top Ten for 2010, but just why did Pretty Little Liars come in at #2 over all the the highest rated series.

According to Mashable and Read Write Web, teens don’t tweet, however the demographic for this show is decidedly teen with over a million teen viewers watching our over made up band of “heroes,” with a total weekly audience of 2.5 million – the highest ratings ever for ABC Family – coming in a whopping 41% ahead of its competition in the same time slot. Also, there has only been ten episodes of the show, so it isn’t like this is a cumulative effect over 22 eps, as the back half of the series is to be shown in early 2011 with season two (already green lighted and shooting to commence in January 2011) to hit the screens as a late Summer (US) show. Shows that are much more reflective of a tweeting demographic didn’t get up there, plus hugely successful shows such as Glee (can’t stand it) and CSI (peoples still watch that?) that came in located in the lower half of the list. If my pre-Glee blocked stream was any indication of the volume of tweets that must be required to come in at #6, I dread to think how many more tweets about Pretty Little Liars actually racked up.

I talked about the first two episodes of Pretty Little Liars a couple of weeks back and have since watched the entire front half of season 1.

This show is much more teen, tween and family orientated that HellCats, yet here in Australia on GO! it is shown at 9.30pm, with HellCats at 7.30pm. Don’t get me started on GO!’s idea of programming times (remember Chuck?) but I don’t understand why a show that is much more family friendly than HellCats is on after Vampire Diaries, a show with very young adult and supernatural themes.

Love that they are done as dolls - posable yet empty.

In the States however, it was on at an age appropriate time and racking up the ratings and as such the tweets. However it isn’t just the television show. Pretty Little Liars is taken from the very successful tween novels by the same name. Out of curiosity I did buy the first book from iBooks and found it remarkably well written. None of this unnecessary fluff that filled out JK Rowling’s later books, but crisp, clear writing with drama, suspense and real character development. It is also written for the parents who are reading with this children, leading to discussions about age appropriate issues, to ensure that their young girls learn from the mistakes of the main characters and have a strong sense of self worth so they can make the right choices. However it does all this without being preachy and a little bit salacious (as much as it can be with teens).

There are some major differences in the show to the books, but over all it stays true to the themes, plot twists, suspense and character development of the books. In my first review, I said it was intriguingly engaging crap. And to be honest, that does still hold true, but I can certainly see its appeal of the family market. Some times though I want to shake the females in that show until they demonstrate some sense.

Every cliche is in this show. Every single one. From the student having a relationship with her teacher, to the fat girl now thin and popular, to the step siblings having a technically not incestuous relationship, sister in love with her sister’s boyfriend, and let’s not forget the divorce storyline and “sexual tension” between some of the parents. Add into this a mix of Gossip Girl style texts knowing all their deepest and darkest secrets and you can see why this show is so popular.

We are pretty, but also dirty and naughty.

But being popular isn’t enough. If Twitter is about sharing information in real time (which according to Read Write Web teens are not want to do) why is Pretty Little Liars Tweet Rating so high? Some of the tweets tell the answer as they are a direct reflection of not only the books but also the show’s style – cliffhanger after cliffhanger after cliffhanger. A lot of the tweets were watchers hypothesising on what they think might happen, given their knowledge of the books and what has happened in the show. There is also an awful lot of discussion about why characters made the choices they made – whether they agree with the decisions or not – and this reflects nicely back on the books – encouraging the readers to learn from the mistakes of the characters to make the right choices. And of course, there is a fair bit of discussion on what is being worn. Looking at the most recent few pages of search results it is filled with tweet after tweet of how they can’t wait for the show to return on Jan 3rd (US release). That is one loyal fan base.

So the buy in from those watching and therefore tweeting is higher than other shows. Anecdotally, if I love a show, I tweet I am watching it, jump on the occasional discussions regarding it on twitter but that is about it, and I certainly don’t keep mentioning the show in my tweets (I am just too verbose to fit it all in), however these tweeters do and the amount of retweets is just insane.

Finally, it should be noted that I don’t actually know anyone who watches Pretty Little Liars. According to gomiso, none of my friends watch it, and it has been very slow on the uptake with viewers who use gomiso with only 120 people following (compared to the 2k+ Fringe follwers). Also, from people who read my first review of Pretty Little Liars, a whopping 83% came from the US. Now I know my blog is read predominately by Americans and Europeans but even for HowManyPandas that was pretty full on – but then given the lack of suitable time slot for the show here in Australia it isn’t that much of a surprise that there is little to no interest here.

So if we all believe Twitter is the temperature gauge to what is “so hot right now” to quote Mugatu, we should all be turning on Justin Bieber and watching Pretty Little Liars. For a deomographic that doesn’t tweet, they sure have an impact on trends.

PS. Anyone know where I can find top trends in Australia for 2010? Will even accept LMGTFY.com responses.

PPS. The Last Airbender came in at #6 on the top ten tweeted movies – I bet 99% of those tweets were about how bad this movie actually was.

An Exercise in Twitter Engagement

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Ghost Riders in the Sky - great opening number and photo shared via twitter to those following the #612hashtag

Much has been said of the ABC’s embracing of the Twitter phenomenon. We have even seen op ed pieces running in online news sites about how this focus is incorrect – with a Twitter only competition proof of discrimination against their regular listeners – and their re-reading tweets as giving people who tweet’s opinion more weight because they are shared with the public twice – once on twitter then once on the radio.

Anyway, I was part of that Twitter only competition.

It ran two different ways for two different presenters for ABC Brisbane 612 Radio. The prize was to participate in “Tweet Seats” at a theatre production – The Ultimate Rock and Roll Jam Session – being held at The Twelfth Night Theatre in Brisbane. The catch? For this double pass, you had to wear the @612Brisbane twitter tee and live tweet the show with the #612jam hashtag (you can see our efforts here by searching on the hashtag). To win a spot – you either had to tweet in a specific sentence (1st 6 got a double pass – I was first though I am not sure if that is a good or bad thing but it did get me awesome seats!) or review the radio show in a tweet (140 characters or less).

I can only speak from personal experience and what my friends tell me – but most of my friends who listen to 612 do so either via their phone/apps or via the blog – cherry picking the pieces they are interested in after the links are tweeted. I listen while driving, but at least 50% of my listening is on delay via an application that provides digital radio coverage to your iPhone/iPod. Given that this usually has a delay behind regular radio of what I am guessing is at least 10 seconds, I can’t actually win a dial in competition and I am certainly not going to try and quickly dial while driving 100kmph on the motorway. So for me, a twitter competition is most likely the only way I am going to win a prize (I did win movie tickets last month, but that was all timing – I was just settling into my car when the song you needed to hear came on – so I dialled in).

So let’s talk about the event.

Tweets from almost two years ago still on the most recent tweet list...

It was a great idea – to have people live tweeting a show – though there are a few things that I think should be taken into account in the future.
Make sure the venue has good coverage.
Sounds obvious, but at least 4 of us had real issues with coverage – with it dropping in and out or just unable to get reception.
The seats themselves – we were three rows back (and I and my friend were smack bang in the middle right in front of the “star” of the show). So for us to tweet, we had to “low tweet” so tweeting low in our laps with our brightness turned way down to try not to annoy the people behind us – though I am sure we were a real distraction. It was VERY weird to be at a show tweeting – and looking left I could see the white lights of the view screens standing out in the dark theatre.
The organiser of the event had a twitter account that had barely ever been used, and didn’t engage us. No asking us who we were, our user names – nadda. Let’s face it, someone who hasn’t even bothered to tweet more than a few times in over a year isn’t the best person to be driving this. She tried, but not understanding twitter was a hurdle – telling us what her twitter handle was would have been a start – I only stumbled on it by chance.
The show itself was lots of fun – a bit of a comedy of errors (I will get around to reviewing it shortly) and the cast tweeted during intermission and after the show – though it would have been good to get some engagement going in advance.
The 612Brisbane account was reweeting some of the tweets from the event, and this did engage the greater twitter audience – I received a few tweets asking what was going on – where I was etc after I was retweeted, plus a fair amount of communication from my regular followers asking for information from my #612jam’ing their stream – though nothing negative – which was good because I was concerned I would annoy some of my followers.

So what did we learn if anything from this exercise.
Check the reception at the venue before you commit.
Put together an engagement strategy and get the participants/show connected with each other.
It was a good choice of show – you didn’t have to think while watching and was easy to tweet – though not sure how transferable us talking about songs and events on stage translated to the greater audience. I can’t see us live tweeting King Lear any time soon.
Maybe place us before a break in the seating so we aren’t so distracting to the paying customers.

EDIT: I personally don’t see embracing Twitter as a new medium to connect with listeners/viewers as a bad thing. You can pretty much pick any group and say they have an advantage. I think the the ABC balances it well. For example, I love how Virginia Trioli will read out emails and Facebook comments then made jokey comments back to her followers on twitter during her off air time in the show. 612Brisbane  and some of their announcers really engage with their audience, and I do wonder whether there has been an increase in their blog traffic since they started tweeting segments. From my own andecdotal evidence based on a sample of one (me), I will tune in via my app at work if something is coming up that really interests me vs waiting to hear it later. How do I know what is coming up? Twitter tells me. So to have a competition to engage a particular segment of your audience isn’t discriminatory at all – I think it is merely responding to your market share and providing appropriate opportunities. Let’s not talk about the #fidlerannouncement.

I doubt this will be the last Tweet Seats event – and I would certainly enter to go again – and the event (not the show) I rate as

#twoandahalfpandas though I think with a little tweaks these could be highly coveted #fourpanda events.
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