One of the latest buzzwords floating around online marketing world is the term “second screen engagement” to refer to the fact that more and more people are paying attention to two (or more) screens simultaneously.  For instance, they are playing around on their iPhone as they watch a show on TV. The tweeting flurry last night on Twitter about “Flag Hair Lady” was an awesome example of this.

In  case you were one of the few people who didn’t notice, it just so happened that during Obama’s acceptance speech last night, there was a woman standing behind Obama, who, for reasons that no one knows but hundreds speculated about, had an American flag stuck in her hair.

Being a population of second screeners, there were evidently thousands of people who happened to be following the election on Twitter and also watching the progress on their TV.  The trail of comments on the #election2012 hashtag went something like this…..

One viewer: “Has anyone noticed that woman has her American flag actually stuck in her hair?”

Another viewer: “I can’t concentrate on Obama’s speech with that woman having that flag in her hair!”

Another viewer: “Is that little flag really so heavy that she can’t just hold it in her hand?!” and so on.

Soon enough Flag Hair Lady was given her own hashtag, and the comments, mostly humorous and sarcastic, continued to roll in throughout and even after Obama’s speech.  Some suggested that even Flag Hair Lady was getting more Tweets than Obama.

What is this saying about consumer behavior today?  That we are all a bunch of smartass people who don’t have the maturity to focus on one of the most potential memorable political speeches of 2012?  Perhaps.  But it also shows that this generation of people is one that is highly involved and highly engaged in technology, and they are shaping the new norm of communication.

It shows that social media isn’t a fad, or a passing fancy.  It’s impacting the way people live, the way they relate, the way they communicate and yes, the opinions they form.  As we move forward with our small businesses it may be more comfortable to assume that our ways of communicating 10, 5, or even 2 years ago still works.  Or that we can keep the attention potential customer audience by offline networking and print advertising; that we don’t need any of these social media bells and whistles.

But I disagree.  And I’m fairly sure the newly famous Flag Hair Lady would back me up on this one.

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