Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

A Super Social Bowl

You could have watched the Super Bowl without checking Twitter or Facebook, but you probably snuck at least a few peeks in throughout the game. And a lot of you ended up typing something, too.

Bluefin Labs, a “social TV” start-up that analyzes commentary during TV broadcasts, says it saw 11.5 million comments during tonight’s game. That’s up more than 6x over last year’s broadcast.

(Bluefin competitor Trendrr says they saw a similar leap: They count 15.8 million comments for the game, up from 3.01 million.)

I’ve asked Bluefin if they’ve got any additional insight into the data, and to make sure that they’re comparing equivalent data sets. Last I recall, Bluefin had said that they get a lot of data from Twitter, and less from Facebook, and none from Google+, which wasn’t around last year, anyway.

But assuming Bluefin is comparing apples with apples, the logical conclusions here are that:

A) People are using Twitter and Facebook a whole lot more than they were a year ago; and/or

B) People are using Twitter and Facebook a whole lot more when they watch TV.

More B than A, says Bluefin marketing head Tom Thai, via email: “Sure, social media itself (Twitter, Facebook, etc) has grown in the past year. But the Social TV consumer activity growth has outpaced it. Generally seeing triple digit growth in Social TV.”

That conclusion — again, the two ideas aren’t mutually exclusive — would be good news for both Facebook and Twitter; especially Twitter, which has bet big on the idea that it can provide a “second screen” experience for programmers. CBS strategy honcho Zander Lurie seems like he’s a believer:


Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and I spent a bunch of time talking about that idea last week at D: Dive Into Media, and we’ll have more on that tomorrow.

In the meantime, we’re expecting a series of usage updates from Twitter about tonight’s game. Here’s the first, which would mean more if we had context, so I’ll ask for that.

Update: And here, with speed, is some of that context from Twitter PR folks, on other recent high-volume Twitter events:

Tim Tebow overtime playoff win (January 8, 2012): 9,402 TPS

2011 MTV Video Music Awards (August 28, 2011): 8,868 TPS

End of FIFA Women’s World Cup (July 17, 2011): 7,196 TPS

Brazil eliminated from the Copa America (July 17, 2011): 7,166 TPS

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik