The Two Screen Social Back-Channel
Okay, I admit that the title of this theory sounds a little bit dubious, but bear with me. Robert Andrews has invented or applied this term to the insane Twitter response to the outpouring of tweets, Facebook updates and blog posts that accompany each episode of the X Factor on ITV1. He lists the following statistics related to the Jedward/Lucie Sunday night show on 15th November:
• X-Factor occupied half of Twitter’s top “trending” global topics list during Sunday’s show.
• Leading The X Factor keywords comprised at least 4.6% of all worldwide tweets during the controversial Jedward-vs-Lucie deadlock.
• @TheXFactor has 51,000+ Twitter followers and a total 1.65 million Facebook fans.
• 13,000-14,000 live comments come in via CoverItLive chat during a typical Sunday night. Together with text messages, emails and tweets, they are filtered by an editor for panelists on Holly Willoughby’s Xtra Factor show.
• 11,000 The X Factor twibbons are being worn by tweeters’ avatars; and they have been exposed to a further 850,000 users.
All these statistics (provided by the social media editor of ITV.com, Ben Ayres) point to a new media phenomenon, argues Andrews - The Two Screen Social Back-Channel.
The theory goes that you have one screen (the TV) with your primary text on it. In the old media world you would go to work or school the next day and talk to your friends about it - the so-called “water-cooler” effect. Now, you have your second screen (laptop or mobile) visible at the same time and use this second screen to interact with others, chat and comment on the show while it is happening via social networks or forums. And this is the social back-channel.
It’s like having a very, very big living room with all your online friends in it. And Popjustice, Charlie Brooker, and Caitlin Moran.