One of the great things about the whole nascent social-TV phenomenon is that it still has the capacity to surprise. Ad Age 's editorial partner Bluefin Labs, the Cambridge-Mass.-based social-TV analytics company, monitors social-media commentary about TV all day, every day -- collecting a mind-numbing amount of data -- so the team there is used to the somewhat predictable ebb and flow of chatter surrounding hot shows. But sometimes even they are taken aback by what they see.
AMC's blockbuster zombie drama "The Walking Dead" may have seemed like the social-TV story of the moment, for example, but it's actually been outdone by "Pretty Little Liars," the ABC Family drama based on the young-adult book series of the same name (its second-season finale aired on Monday). If you happen to be a teen girl or if one lives in your household, the chart below may come as no shock. If you're a grown-up, scroll down for some context.
- Social-media commentary volume for "Pretty Little Liars" is represented by pink bars (the show is big on pink), while "The Walking Dead" is represented by brown bars (to connote rotting flesh). "Dead" garnered 217,162 social-media comments for its second-season finale, while "Liars" racked up 804,331. "To give you a sense for how big 804,331 social-media comments is ," says Bluefin's Tom Thai, "that 's in the same range as the president's State of the Union address this January, which generated 880,854."
- To get an idea of how each show stacks up against others in its genre -- "The Walking Dead" roughly fits in the supernatural/horror-drama niche, while "Pretty Little Liars" plays in the totally dramatic teen-drama niche -- see the "Comparison Vs. Similar Shows" section of our infographic.
- "The week-by -week patterns for 'The Walking Dead' and 'Pretty Little Liars' look eerily similar," Mr. Thai points out. "There's the obvious peak during the finale week. But notice that both shows also have an intermediate peak in the middle of their seasons. That's because both shows went on a mid-season hiatus and the bumps in the middle are when the shows came back on air. For 'The Walking Dead,' that was Episode 8 on Feb. 12; the show had been on hiatus since Nov. 27. For 'Pretty Little Liars,' they came back with Episode 14 on Jan 2, after having been on hiatus since Oct. 19."
- Across their full second seasons, "Dead" averaged just over 76,000 social-media comments per episode while "Liars" averaged more than 112,000 per episode.
- Coming soon to AMC: "Bitchy Little Zombies." I'm kidding. I think.
Stay tuned to AdAge.com for more data from Bluefin Labs. For more about Bluefin, visit their website.
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. Follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.