There are adaptive apps that recognize the appeal of watching a television program such as FX Network's "Sons of Anarchy" and then being told where to buy that cool leather jacket worn by one of the bikers.
Other apps from companies such as Disney provide smart phone or tablet users with the chance to learn more about the characters or places they've seen on a particular show.
The biggest draw of second screen usage might be the opportunity to "speak" to other viewers.
"I think the tipping point was Twitter going from being more of a niche social platform to being more mainstream," Mr. Stephen said. "It's about everyone knowing what a hashtag is instead of 'what is this weird pound symbol people are putting in front of words?' "
During the last Academy Awards broadcast in February, presenter Angelina Jolie showed off her spectacular right leg when she assumed a rather bold stance onstage.
Immediately, @AngiesRightLeg was a Twitter handle proclaiming "Look at me!" Other comments soon followed.
Whether one considers this the height of wit or just another doofus attempt at commentary, it was indicative of today's climate in social media.
HBO's much-hyped series premiere of "Girls" April 15 got a buzz-worthy boost from creator and star Lena Dunham, who tweeted during the show. That had to make viewers feel special.
Until recently, reality show "Top Shot's" host, Colby Donaldson, live-tweeted during new episodes.
A growing number of social media companies reward users for watching television. GetGlue enthusiasts earn points for checking in while watching, although they don't necessarily have to watch much of it.
For their loyalty, they earn stickers. Companies partnering with GetGlue might offer other prizes.
Rewards for another such company, Miso, can include access to special online content. Viggle, a newer player on the scene, awards points that can be used toward prizes such as makeup, movie tickets and snacks.
Using Viggle check-in requires turning on the app and allowing it to pick up the digital audio signal of the program. During the show, users might be sent quizzes about what they've seen, or other content such as videos and advertising.
Just checking in is worth a set number of points, but answering the quiz questions or watching related content can earn users even more points. At the same time, they can "meet" others checked in and chat during the program.
The Viggle.com Web page updates programs associated with check-in points, with emphasis on live events such as last Thursday's Chicago Bulls game with the Miami Heat.
Some users don't like relying on their thumbs, and Facebook via computer is still the go-to for many social media chatters. During the Casey Anthony trial last summer, there were huge communities of users who would log in, then weigh in, to discuss the trial, which was streamed live from an Orlando, Fla., courtroom.
During the Pens game Wednesday, there were more than 1,000 posts during the official team blog on Facebook. Comments were generally upbeat, more thoughtfully written, and certainly less profane than the various Twitter streams.
It was probably only a matter of time before Tweets crept onto the television screen itself. Programs that now incorporate live-time Tweets include MSNBC's "The Ed Show" with Ed Schultz, as well as reality programs "Top Shot" on History and "RuPaul's Drag Race" on Logo.
Only 30 percent of Twitter users are from the U.S., and the program is available in 28 languages. So it should come as no surprise that what we Americans consider a very big deal isn't always so around the world.
Sure, the second- and third-highest Tweets-per-second (TPS) concentrations were registered during the 2012 Super Bowl. That was 12,233 at the end of the game, and 10,245 during Madonna's halftime show.
But the all-time champ? More than 25,000 TPS, which occurred in Japan during the annual showing of a 1986 movie from legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki.
There was a moment when two main characters in "Laputa: Castle in the Sky" had to cast a spell. An onscreen request to "help" them cast it by Tweeting did the trick.
Was it a silly stunt? Of course. Did 25,000 Twitter users feel a sense of accomplishment for having done so. Probably. But it's nothing new: in the 1960s, we all clapped when Mary Martin's "Peter Pan" asked us to save Tinkerbell's life.
In cyberspace, often it's the medium, not the message, that really counts.
"It's really just people wanting to talk about things," Mr. Stephen said, "and social media is the way to have that."
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