Instant Zeitgeist – Social Second Screen


Posted on: Oct 19, 2012 by Paul Moore

We can probably say that the recent presidential debate in the US between Obama and Romney marks the moment that the second screen has gone beyond the early adopter phase. According to one survey 11% of the people watching the debate were also following it with a second screen, be it tablet, smartphone or PC. On one of the most watched moments on American television 11% represents many, many millions of individuals and households all having a at least partly personalized experience that is extremely monetisable (if not fully monetized just yet). See "One-in-Ten 'Dual-Screened' the Presidential Debate"

But you know what? We ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Typical second screens offer bios, statistics, relayed historical facts, future programming etc. All very interesting and useful of course but we can do way better than that.

Interactive social dashboard with social network analytics using big data

In sociology they use the German word zeitgeist meaning “the spirit of the times” or “the spirit of the age”. Maybe we need a term for “the spirit of this exact moment”. With the massive use of Twitter especially and advances in social network analytics and big data we can know what people collectively or as a segmented group are thinking RIGHT NOW about the world in general or about a specific topic and we can know it in practically real time. As we speak millions of people are publishing their opinion in a public way about just about anything and in a format that we can instantly detect, use, measure and analyse. For the past few years large corporations and governments have been doing just that. Now’s the time for the rest of us to see this too. And with improvements in sentiment analysis we can not only know what they are saying when they say but how they feel about it!

Social Second Screen and next generation

The next generation of second screens are incorporating this real time social data so the user can see and feel (and participate directly in) what is happening in the social sphere around an event whether it be in sports or news or reality TV or whatever. As a result of a proof of concept developed earlier this year for the Atos Scientific Community we have developed a “Social Second Screen” that provides a real time interactive social dashboard synchronized with a live event – tag cloud, news ticker, event info, real time tweets, a social map of where the tweets are coming from, Twitter and Facebook links, graphs of social activity (volume and sentiment analysis), highlight selection, …

Others are also thinking about this of course. Lately people have been wondering just what the business model of Twitter can be. Well, the CEO of Twitter is convinced it is the second screen! Second screens are now the mainstream but second screens with social are the next step. More fun and interesting for the Facebook generation and more monetisable for the broadcaster or content provider. Instant zeitgeist for all of us.

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About Paul Moore

Director of New Media & Technology Futures for BBC Account at Atos and member of the Scientific Community
Paul Moore is the Director of New Media and Technology Futures for the BBC Account in Atos and previously was the head of Media in Research & Innovation, Atos and is based in London, UK. Paul has dual Canadian/Spanish citizenship and degrees in Economics from the University of Toronto and Computer Business Systems at Ryerson University. With over 25 years experience in IT Paul has worked in wide variety of areas, including public procurement, accounting, mobility, Smart Cities, analytics and media. Both in his current role with the BBC and previously in R&D, Paul has worked in such areas as video streaming, 3D, digital preservation, social media and video analytics and recommender systems. He has been collaborating as an external expert for the European Commission for nearly 10 years and has been a member of the Atos Scientific Community since 2011 where he leads the Media area.

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