“Using time series analysis, we saw a statistically significant causal influence indicating that a spike in TV ratings can increase the volume of Tweets, and, conversely, a spike in Tweets can increase tune-in,” said Paul Donato, Chief Research Officer, Nielsen.So when more people watch a show they tweet more about it and when more people tweet about a show more people watch it.
Thus, when someone tweets, "Dude, are you watching #Sharknado?!!" a few more people tune in and when more people tune in, more people tweet about the awesome awfulness that is Sharknado.
This is good news for TV networks and for marketers because it's hard evidence that Twitter works as a word of mouth platform to a degree.
The challenge is nobody talks or tweets about ordinary things. You have to be remarkable to get the conversation started. In Sharknado's case, the show was remarkably bad, in a fascinating "I can't turn away even if I wanted to" kind of way.
So to set the twitterverse afire you need a killer product, a surprising and relevant marketing event, or a great story worth sharing.
Because while people are tweeting about a tornado that transports sharks, the unreal acts of real housewives, and backstabbing top chef/designer/model competitions, nobody's tweeting about a documentary of vanilla ice cream.