Piers Morgan: The King of All Twitter

Bombastic Brit has led the way in driving buzz through social media

For someone who didn't understand the point of Twitter
less than a year ago, Piers Morgan has sure made a name for
himself quickly on the social media platform.
“I’ve made no secret of the fact that I was Twitter’s
biggest enemy and then became its biggest
fan,” says Morgan, host of Piers Morgan Tonight and
judge on America’s Got Talent.

Morgan joined Twitter in November 2010 at the
request of Piers Morgan Tonight’s digital producer,
Steve Krakauer. He soon discovered that he could
use Twitter to wage feuds, be provocative and opinionated,
and promote himself—things he had already
spent most of his career doing in many more
than 140 characters.

And for a Brit trying to make a name for himself
in the States as an interviewer, Twitter proved a
perfect tool for Morgan to showcase his personality
to viewers who knew him primarily from AGT
and The Celebrity Apprentice. “You can’t hide your personality or your
character,” Morgan says of Twitter. “And I think my Twitter feed gives
you a pretty good insight into what I’m like.”

Morgan has amassed more than 1 million followers in his nine months
on Twitter, and he’s using that to build his personal brand and drive
buzz—and arguably ratings—to his CNN and NBC shows.

He promoted his live interview with Charlie Sheen during the height
of the Two and a Half Men debacle with a single tweet sent out five minutes
before air. The interview averaged 1.3 million
total viewers and 561,000 in the news target
adults 25-54 demo. At the time, the Sheen interview
gave PMT its best ratings in the target demo
to date. For the month of February, PMT averaged
812,000 total viewers, 237,000 in 25-54.

“That was really the wake-up call for me to say,
‘This is serious, this can be a phenomenal ratings
tool,’” Morgan says. It’s a tactic he repeated last
week after Christine O’Donnell walked off his set.

Morgan has even made a practice of booking
guests via Twitter, including Jessica Alba, Alec Baldwin
and Mike Tyson, leveraging the benefit of doing
the booking process in front of thousands of followers,
which makes it difficult for stars to back out.

Clearly, Morgan has become one of the converted.
“It’s endlessly obsessive, addictive, hilarious, and it has cured the No.
1 problem I had in my life: What to do when you’re trapped on a plane
or in a boring car journey or a traffic jam and you’ve got nothing else
to do,” he says of his feed, which often touches on personal passions
like cricket and the underachieving English soccer team Arsenal. “Now
I never have to worry. There are a million people I can talk to.”