How do you break Twitter? Just ask @TheEllenShow!

This past Sunday night, Ellen DeGeneres hosted the 2014 Academy Awards. Besides drawing in 43 million viewers, the most in ten years, Ellen was able to make history and break Twitter in the process. All she needed were a few famous friends and a clear call to action… make history by getting the most re-tweets ever.

Having heard that, the Twittersphere sprang to life and quickly overtook what had been the current Twitter leader, Barack Obama’s re-election Tweet from 2012, by a landslide.  President Obama’s tweet held the record with over 780,000 re-tweets but Ellen’s selfie now has over 3 million re-tweets. When that many people get on a website at the same time, the result probably won’t be too good. Twitter struggled with the demand it was under, not allowing posting or even viewing of Tweets for several minutes.

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While this A-list selfie was definitely the most shared and popular moment of the Oscars, it was not the only Twitter-worthy moment. Twitter says there were more than 14.7 million Tweets around the world talking about the Oscars during the live show.

Just like the Super Bowl, this shows how many people are using a second screen while watching TV.  Another level of entertainment is achieved by following friends and celebrities on Twitter while watching events like the Oscars on TV (and you might even help make history by re-tweeting a selfie). Just another reason brands should keep the second screen in mind when creating their advertising.

Did you use a second screen while watching the Oscars? If so, why? Was it for entertainment value, multi-tasking, or just something you don’t even notice you’re doing anymore?

#WhyAllTheHashtags?

Hashtag-mania

If you are one of the millions of people who watched the Super Bowl on Sunday you might have noticed that many of the much-anticipated commercials included hashtags (#). The purpose of a hashtag, or the pound sign, is that it allows you to organize content and track discussion topics based on those keywords. This year’s Super Bowl set a new record for hashtags with over 57% of ads containing one. But why?

Many of us can’t seem to put down our smartphone or tablet even while watching TV, but that doesn’t mean that we are just addicted to checking email or playing Candy Crush. In reality, fifty-three percent of consumers are using that second screen to engage in mobile-based activities related to what they’re watching on TV. So advertisers are trying to get in on the action by providing a hashtag to viewers in hopes that they will start or join a conversation about their brand. If people are going to be online and talking about what they are watching, why not have them promote and discuss your product?

But is adding a hashtag to the end of a commercial enough to get viewers involved? No, unfortunately it’s not. In order for a hashtag to work, you need to give the viewer something so amazing they just have to share it with others. That something might be the sweet moment when a horse and puppy become #bestbuds, or it might be hearing America the Beautiful in many different languages and thinking #AmericaisBeautiful.

Or you could follow Esurance’s lead and focus your entire commercial around a hashtag… and give away $1.5 million to someone who uses that hashtag. That got me involved!