“Did you know that every single one of their injuries was real? Like that giant bruise on her thigh from that slide into third base stayed for a whole year!” I declared across the couch–right in the middle of A League of Their Own–with my phone in hand, screen tuned to the Trivia section of my imdb app. My husband, who had his own phone screen just inches away from his face as he scrolled through Google search results on what Gina Davis is up to now, replied, “Yup. Crazy.”
It’s one of our favorite past-times: staring at screens. And as Millennials, we are not alone when it comes to staring at more than one screen at once: 71% of 18-34 year olds habitually use a second device to engage in social media while watching video content, specifically when it comes to augmenting what you’re watching. That could mean anything from brushing up on trivia on the movie you’re watching to talking with friends over Facebook about how great Tom Hanks is. It could even mean you’re tapping away on Plants vs Zombies 2 while binging on The Walking Dead, or watching YouTube fail compilations during the commercial breaks of SNL. Any way you slice it, it’s hard to escape the little screen even when your big screen is on.
One great phenomenon that has come alive with the common use of smartphones is the Live Tweet: an ongoing commentary published on Twitter during an entertaining event, either televised or live (or you can Live Snap if you’d rather everyone see your face). It’s kind of like sitting in a room with everyone in the Twitterverse to have a contest on who can shoot off the funniest critique of your favorite show. And you can’t easily participate in the conversation unless you have more than one device active.
Millennials seem to be particularly drawn to this type of social interaction due to their value of involvement. While watching a particular episode of The Bachelor may be really exciting and entertaining when you’re on your own, the need for connection to others cannot be fulfilled until someone is on the couch with you or you pick up your device and shoot off 140 characters to your 300 followers. And once you get your first like right before the rose ceremony, you know you are involved with something bigger than just a relaxing night to yourself.
While the most popular way to double-team with screens is TV + smartphone, Millennials are also likely to use alternative viewing devices (iPads and other tablets, a second smartphone, laptops) along with other screens.
Here are some other great posts about second screens and why they are the future:
- Think With Google: Second Screen Searches – Great insights from the king of searches, Google, on why it’s important for brands to capture micro-moments of wonder
- The Future of Interactive TV – Includes a cool infographic on opportunities in second screens
- 5 Big Mistakes to Avoid in Second Screen Co-Viewing– What to avoid when jumping into the social TV craze of second screens
- Social Media & the Second Screen by Business Insider – Some stats on how second screens are actually being used