Can CNN's Piers Morgan Tweet His Way to Ratings Success?

Dumenco's Trendrr Chart of the Week

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Piers Morgan's predecessor at CNN, Larry King, was so famously technophobic that I once included him in a Media Guy Pop Quiz for exactly that reason. The quiz ran in the wake of an accidentally hilarious sit-down he conducted with Roseanne Barr in which he revealed that he didn't really know what the internet was:

Piers Morgan
Piers Morgan

Since Larry King admitted during an interview with Roseanne Barr that he's never used the internet ("What, do you punch little buttons and things?"), what other admissions has he made?

A. He's terrified of the notion of Quilted Northern toilet paper: "Quilts are for bedding, not wiping. I'm sticking with corncobs and crumpled-up funny pages!"
B. He still uses a gasoline-powered nose-hair trimmer: "Those thingamajigs with the, whaddaya call 'em, AA batteries? Those could shake loose and get caught in your nostrils, and you could suffocate to death!"
C. The suspenders aren't for his pants: "They keep my legs from falling off."
D. He once bathed with his grandson's iPod: "I thought it was a bar of soap."

The thing is, Piers Morgan wasn't exactly known for being Mr. Digital, either. But hey, turns out he's a quick study! Last Nov. 30, when he took the stage at our ME: Media Evolved conference in Manhattan (he interviewed "Mad Men" actor John "Roger Sterling" Slattery for us), he revealed that he'd just gotten on Twitter, as @piersmorgan. By mid-January, he had 200,000 followers. As of this writing, he's at 509,653.

Which brings me to this week's charticle -- which includes Twitter data collected and parsed, as always, by our editorial partner Trendrr, the social-media monitoring firm. Some notes:

  • Morgan's ratings have been a mixed bag since he took over King's slot on CNN, but lately the headlines have been sunnier. For example: "Piers Morgan Is CNN's Most-Watched News Program So Far This Year" (sorry, Anderson Cooper). As Business Insider's Glynnis MacNicol put it in that piece (published March 29), "CNN's gamble on Piers Morgan appears to be paying off."
  • Morgan appears to be an incredibly prolific Twitterer (he's surpassed 5,000 tweets in four months of tweeting). His tweets seem idiosyncratically Piers-ish enough to suggest that he's definitely tweeting himself, though clearly he's also coordinating with his staff regarding social-media stragegy. On March 25, for instance, he tweeted, "Tuesday's @PiersTonight will be first fully interactive Twitter show -- I'll ask guests questions from live tweets as we go."
  • Top global markets tweeting about @piersmorgan
    Top global markets tweeting about @piersmorgan

  • The top five global markets with Twitterers mentioning @piersmorgan are London, New York, L.A., Toronto and Manchester (U.K.).
  • On Twitter, U.S. markets have been accounting for 43% of his recent Twitter buzz, with 31% coming from England, 6% from Canada, and 3% from South Africa. So he's appealing to a broad base of TV viewers in English-speaking countries.
  • @piersmorgan has been mentioned in an average of about 2,500 tweets per day, with notable peaks coming Feb. 28 when he interviewed Charlie Sheen (9,851 tweets), March 5, when he interviewed Jackie and Judy Collins (10,450 tweets), and his March 25 Twitter-themed show (39,760 tweets).

  • Speaking of Sheen, we decided to pit recent @charliesheen buzz against @piersmorgan buzz out of curiosity. Considering that not long ago Sheen pretty much owned Twitter, Piers Morgan is not doing half bad!
  • Trendrr chart
    @charliesheen (magenta) vs. @piersmorgan (peach) hourly tweet volume

Dumenco's Trendrr Chart of the Week is produced in collaboration with Wiredset, the New York digital agency behind Trendrr.

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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