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TV & Twitter: Better together for health

January 12, 2015

A while back, Adriana M. Tayraco, Social Media Specialist at Klick, posted an interesting article “TV & Twitter go better together: the birth of the Social TV Audience” on the #hcsmca LinkedIn group. She identified opportunities for pharmaceutical companies to tap into the emerging trend of double-screen television viewing, but I also see great potential for public health, behaviour change and destigmatization. I invited Adriana to host the January 14 chat to explore the possibilities further with #hcsmca.

By Adriana M. Tayraco (@atayraco)

headshot Adriana Tayraco

Adriana Tayraco

Twitter is enhancing the TV viewing experience allowing viewers to interact and influence what they see on screen. This marriage of television & Twitter is proving to be a fruitful one with major events attracting millions of Twitter users and generating a massive number of (measurable) tweets. According to Nielsen’s research, almost all industries are affected by this rapid social change. One quick example of TV and Twitter influencing healthcare was the active conversation and social repercussions around cerebral palsy fuelled by mentions in the successful TV show Breaking Bad.

As I point out in my article TV & Twitter go better together: the birth of the Social TV Audience, the main character in Breaking Bad has a son, Walter “Flynn” White Jr., who lives with cerebral palsy (as does the actor who played him, R.J. Mitte). A quick search of Twitter mentions of cerebral palsy along with mentions of the show, the character or the actor result in more than 3,000 Twitter mentions in the last year – that’s a full year since the last episode aired. Not bad for a rare disease mentioned in an old TV show.

Source: KlickHealth

Source: KlickHealth

With all this information and potential user reach now available to the public, health organizations, researchers and industry experts alike, it will be interesting to discuss the possible applications of Twitter for public health during this week’s #hcsmca chat (January 14 at 1pm ET).

  • T1a: Do you converse on Twitter while you watch TV or monitor health conversation that start from TV episodes?
  • T1b: What examples of health conversation on Twitter prompted by TV/film media have you seen?
  • T2: How can the public and health orgs leverage interest generated on Twitter by media mentions of an illness or health behaviours?
  • T3 What are some benefits and risks of using Twitter to monitor health trends (tracking illness, geotargetting risk, etc)?

Read the Jan 14-15 hcsmca transcript.

Further reading:
Connecting with Social Brand Ambassadors,, 2014,, accessed January 12, 2015
Twitter Lets You See the Future of TV (Ratings), 2015, Peter Kafka @pkafka accessed January 12, 2015
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