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    Second Screen Use Doubled Over the Past Year

    Written by

    Brian Merchant

    Senior Editor

    Image: Flickr

    Apparently, 'second screen activity' is the official marketing term for the act of thumbing through your iPad's Twitter app while you watch TV. And predictably, we're all doing a hell of a lot more of it now than we did even a year ago.

    A new report from Trendrr, a "real-time company" that "harnesses the value of big-data with industry specific solutions"--am I the only one that can't even tell what these buzzy firms do anymore?--says that "second screen activity" is up 127 percent from this time last year. 

    That's a lot. If this data is to be believed, it means more than twice as many people are simultaneously status updating on Facebook and watching Two and a Half Men. Calling out Jeopardy! answers and playing Angry Birds. Watching CNN and writing angry tweets at Wolf Blitzer. Dozing through Charlie Rose and watching amateur porn—whatever it is we do with our two-screens-at-once debauchery.

    So what does this mean? It means more distraction, more present shock, more multitasking, and more multi-pronged advertising campaigns incoming. 

    Some marketing blog breaks down the implications for TV advertising:

    This is important for brands because studies suggest consumers are more receptive to ads when they’re using second screen apps. If you want to advertise on one screen, it’s worth investigating a second (or third). Even ads can provide an integrated, holistic experience.

    In other words, marketing firms want to bill companies for a whole new spate of secondary (or tertiary) ad campaigns. But the plans of marketing departments are the least interesting part of this phenomenon. More notable is that we are slowly and willing building fortresses of screens around us, and increasingly immersive ones; distributed variations of Bradbury's all-consuming entertainment room in Fahrenheit 451.

    Which would be fine. The phenomenon probably wouldn't be all that different from leafing through a magazine while watching a sitcom—if for the fact that the two media didn't previously have the ability to send data between them in order to better persuade you to buy a pair of Nikes.