12/18/2012 03:47 pm ET Updated Feb 17, 2013

Here's Why the new Twitter Nielsen TV Matters

Social Media is growing up. We're seeing that the power of social media marches on in business, entertainment, sports, government and education, and is becoming more entrenched in internal business processes as well as outward communications.

Today sees the announcement of the new Twitter Nielsen TV Ratings, just in time for the Fall 2013 season.

Here's a critical phrase from the announcement: " ....Nielsen and Twitter will deliver a syndicated-standard metric around the reach of the TV conversation."

This is brilliant because much of what's lacking as social media grows up is the ability to measure and analyze the massive big data beneath the social firehose. Good analytics starts with standards.

It's interesting that Twitter has gone from goat to hero in a few short years. It wasn't long ago that Twitter was dismissed as frivolous, with people saying, "Who cares what you ate for dinner?" Now it's a key player in TV Ratings 2.0.

SocialTV viewing is the new campfire experience -- the you-are-not-alone experience. It is the gravitational center that has the power to pull in 20, 30 or 100 million viewers to a single TV experience. Whether it's Homeland, Sons of Anarchy, the Oscars, or mourning current events, people want to be connected by contributing to the story in real-time.

These real-time TV experiences can and do affect ratings. After all, there's a $90+ billion pot of advertising gold at the end of the TV rainbow that tech companies, social media firms, TV hardware companies, mobile carriers, and everyone else under the sun would like to get their hands on.

It's an open field for the competition to harness this new market demand, and it looks like Twitter is staking its claim on a portion of the pot of advertising gold.

Beverly Macy teaches social media and global marketing and branding at the UCLA Extension. She runs Gravity Summit and advises Fortune 500 companies on real-time social media. She is the co-author of best-seller The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing. The book is used in over 20 universities and corporations as a guide to social media. You can email her at