Social Friction Makes TV More Fun

When Chief Content Officer dmg :: events for Digital Marketing (think Ad:Tech, iMedia Summits), Brad Berens, spoke at Notre Dame’s Marketing Symposium last year, he introduced his concept of the desirability of ‘social friction‘ with a startling and poignant image: two fancily dressed young teens at a dance holding each other close, in what may have been their first ‘slow dance’,  while the girl updated her Facebook status over the boy’s shoulder.

The point? It’s not a real experience until you share it. Or perhaps said another way, sharing the experience makes it more enjoyable.

A year ago, Kodak updated it’s famous “Kodak Moments” campaign to “The Real Kodak Moments Happen When You Share“. The goal was to reflect this new reality about sharing.. (NYT, April 10, 2010).  Jeffrey W. Hayzlett, chief marketing officer at  Kodak put the new theme this way: “It’s not a Kodak moment unless you share.”

(For more on this topic, see earlier post: “The Benefits of Social Friction“)

Sharing Gone Wild (and Mobile)

Mobile platforms make sharing in-the-moment easier than ever. Consequently, use of social networks on mobile devices is skyrocketing.

Nearly 58 million mobile subscribers accessed a social networking site at least monthly via mobile device as of December 2010, up 56% from the previous year, according to Comscore’s latest report. Facebook alone is up 121% over the previous year.

The number of U.S. users accessing Facebook via mobile reached roughly 44 million as of December, making it the single most popular platform used on mobile phones.   U.S. mobile users were most likely to access social networking sites or blogs on their mobile at 24.7%, followed by Japanese users  at 19.3%, and then Europeans at 18%.

Sharing makes watching TV more fun

Digital marketing agency Digital Clarity published a survey of 1,300 mobile internet users below the age of 25 years. The research showed  8 out of 10 use a mobile device to talk to friends while watching TV.  They used Twitter (72%), Facebook (56%) or other mobile applications (34%) to actively comment on shows and chat with their friends as they watch.  A whopping 62 percent of social TV users like using a combination of all three. A joint Nielsen and Yahoo study in the United States last year found similar results: 86% of mobile internet users communicate with each other in real time during TV broadcasts.

Why connect with friends during shows? Thirty-four percent  described the trend as “fun” and about the same number said it made television “more interesting“.  Forty-two percent mentioned the “community” aspect of social TV.

A college student with friends in different cities described the experience this way:

They are in different towns to me but it’s like having them round to watch TV,” he said. “We share a lot of jokes and if I comment on something funny or stupid I get replies almost immediately.”

Shakespeare Had It All Figured Out

According to Berens, ‘high friction moments’, such as those shared TV viewing experiences can be extremely impactful. Friction in the presence of other people leads to satisfaction.  In his latest speech just posted (see video below), Berens draws a link between social connection today and how Shakespeare did much the same thing over 400 years ago. Shakespeare wisely created a sense of powerful connectivity among his audience members at The Globe Theater to create hugely satisfying experiences.

According to Berens, as we look at the next iteration of digital media, we have the ability to use marketing experiences and technologies to create deeper bonds between people and to give them more richly satisfying experiences in relation to our brands much the same way that Shakespeare did centuries ago — and still does and even today.

For more insights on what Shakespeare has to say about digital marketing, I highly recommend watching Brad’s speech on video. As a digital marketing thought leader who also happens to be a Shakespeare scholar, he really knows what he’s talking about and great examples, as well!

Part1: httpv://