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Does Twitter Really Think It Can Control Its Users?


Since the NBC/Twitter hook-up for the Olympics, the social network seems to think it can force users to do its bidding. Recently it cut off Tumblr and Instagram. Whether this is hubris or monetization, many are not amused.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Can mobile users be forced to turn on their TVs? Can they be forced to do anything?

Twitter seems to think it can control its users and every aspect of their Twitter experience, and recent moves it has made to those ends have upset many.

First, the TV situation. There's no debating that ratings fell hard in 2012, especially among the coveted young-adult segment of viewers age 18-49. When this segment does watch, it's online and, for the most part, without commercials. Jeff Gaspin, former head of entertainment at NBC, owned by GE (NYSE:GE), summed it up succinctly when interviewed by Bill Carter for the New York Times: "We are seeing the cumulative effect of nonlinear viewing. I think we are at a tipping poing in how people are going to watch shows."

Young adult eyeballs are on social networks, including Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter. Twitter has 140 million active users and, like Facebook, has willingly partnered with networks to "drive user engagement."

NBC says Twitter helped drive a record number of viewers to its prime time coverage: At nearly 220 million viewers, the delayed coverage of the London games made it the most watched television event in history.

Whether or not the record number of viewers can be tied to Twitter or is simply a coincidence since they would have tuned in anyway, the social network is taking credit. Twitter's vice president for media, Chloe Sladden said, "What we saw is that it was an amazing daytime teaser trailer driving people into primetime."
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