Some years ago, Facebook started broadcasting side events such as red carpets, interviews wih fans and movie previews inside its platform.

Users could chat during the video broadcast or use the chat box to send questions to actors, directors or whomever was part of that social-show.

Then came Twitter and people found a place to discuss and interact with shows and other users in a very easy way (also knows as “hashtag”).

Social TV apps immediately integrated a Twitter stream, or included Twitter and Facebook share options, frequently offering the opportunity to automatically include official hashtags.

In 2011, Facebook signed some partnerships for movies distribution, starting from WB’s The Dark Knight, but Twitter seemed to keep a leading role in aggregating users’ conversations around shows and events.

Until now, maybe.

Facebook has indeed recently announced a double partnership: the first one for the Olympics and the other for the US elections.

In June Facebook launched its “Olympics Hub, in order to collect all the pages both of the Olympics in general and of individual athletes, related to the great sport event.

The page gives visibility to all the other contents available, and it constitutes an interesting aggregator to follow all the related Facebook pages and accounts.

Some days ago came the announcement of a partnership with NBC, aimed to engage TV subscribers and offer them a “more social perspective” on the Olympics.

As explained by The New York Times, there will also be a Facebook Talk Meter, whose purpose will be exactly to measure the buzz around the games on Facebook (as I wrote in TOK’s first post, metrics are an important issue at the moment).

On July 9th, CNN announced a partnership with Facebook “to Make ‘America’s Choice 2012‘ Political Coverage an Interactive, Social Experience”.

There are three areas of interaction:

  1. Applications: Facebook will launch the “I’m voting” app aimed to endorse candidates and share personal opinions
  2. Polls: mainly launched on Facebook’s Elections Hub page 
  3. Buzz metrics: related both to candidates and to States results

The advantages? People won’t need to go out of Facebook platform while watching TV.

The purpose? Substitute Twitter’s role as TV buddy.

By the way, I believe the issue is more complicated

Twitter hashtags constitute an easy and quick way to follow some topics, while Facebook hubs offer news, link to offical pages and buzz aggregations.

It is way too much, in my opinion.

I can imagine people using the “I’m voting app” or becoming fan of athletes before or after events, then they could visit the hubs to find some news (but I imagine they will have enough on traditional channels… or via Twitter). However, I don’t think they are going to engage with them during the events.

While an integration between Twitter and Facebook seems more far than ever (and the marketing reasons are more than obvious), social TV apps could play an intersting role by integrating both platforms and offering a unique experience.

So, which are the best apps to follow the Olympics (elections are in November, so there will certainly be developments) and engage with other users?

Let me do some tests and stay tuned.