Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

On Twitter, the Oscars Were Huge — But Not Whitney Houston Huge

Big TV event + lots of people on Twitter = lots and lots of people Tweeting about the Big TV event. Right?

Yes. But not that many people.

Social TV tracker Bluefin Labs counted 3.44 million “social comments” about last night’s Oscar awards. That metric, which primarily tracks Twitter usage but also includes some data from Facebook and other services, is certainly big. But it’s much smaller than two other big live-TV events this month. Bluefin counted some 12 million comments for the Super Bowl, and 13 million for the Grammys.

And the comment volume for those two events showed much more year-over-year growth than the Oscars, too. Bluefin says Oscar Tweets were up more than 250 percent this year, compared to a crazy 2,300 percent bump for the Grammys and 580 percent for the Super Bowl.

That might seem a little odd to someone like, um, me, whose Sunday evening Twitter feed seemed to be clogged exclusively with people live-tweeting the same broadcast. (Which, really — love you guys, but I could do without.)

So this ends up being a very healthy reminder that different people use Twitter for different things. Hard to remember that sometimes, because the medium so closely mimics a traditional broadcast system, with its one-to-many structure (even if CEO Dick Costolo insists it’s not a media company). But on Twitter, there are a whole lot more broadcasters out there, and not all of them go freaking nuts about the Oscars, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

(Photo courtesy of Academy Award official site)

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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