This weekend I watched two events that were enhanced by having my tablet on my lap while viewing. The first was the Sochi Opening Ceremony, where I was thoroughly entertained by the commentary on Twitter. I can’t believe how fast people started selling the “Olympic Ring Fail” t-shirt. The second, was the midseason premiere of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” which I viewed along with many Facebook friends – they really love to hate Carl!

At SymphonyAM we call this behavior socialtasking: the use of a social media app while simultaneously viewing a television program.

The beauty of our technology, which simultaneously tracks what our panelists are doing on their mobile devices, their PCs, and what they are watching on television, is that we can:

  • Capture socialtasking passively
  • Measure usage across any social networking app
  • Quantify concurrent usage when the viewer is discussing the program they are watching, chatting privately with friends, or even if they are just lurking on the social site

For the purpose of this analysis, I identified 10 of the top social networking apps and aggregated the data. I found that approximately one in five viewers uses at least one of these apps in the average program, and they spend about 20 percent of their viewing time socialtasking.