I’ve watched a lot of television in my day, and I am very loyal to my programming of choice.  Whenever one of my favorite television shows was canceled, I always wished I was one of those lucky few people who had a Nielsen box.  I thought that maybe I could have saved the show if only the folks at Nielsen knew how much I loved it.  Now, anyone may be able to contribute to a TV show’s ratings if they have a Twitter account.

Nielsen, the organization that tracks television ratings, just announced an exclusive deal with Twitter to create a ‘Nielsen Twitter TV Rating’.  What this means is that a new way of measuring the popularity of television shows using Twitter will start at the beginning of the Fall 2013 TV season.  According to Chloe Sladden, Twitter’s vice president of media, Twitter has become “the world’s digital water cooler, where TV conversations happen in real time.”  And when you couple the 140 million Twitter users (and their billion tweets every two days) with Nielsen, you get the perfect method for determining the total audience for social television activity.

Nielsen still plans to use the traditional set-top boxes and other methods of tracking show popularity, but adding Twitter gives everyone a say in what they like to watch on TV.  The company will be looking at how many mentions a show might get, as well as how much real-time engagement happens while a program is on-air.  For me, that just means I’ll have to tweet enough to keep #Scandal trending while I’m watching every Thursday night.

So if you want to make sure Basketball Wives stays on the air, or you’d like to do your best to get it banished forever, Twitter might just be the best way to let the powers that be know what’s on your mind.  Do you tweet about your favorite show, and do you think this new rating system will make a difference in what stays on the air?

Follow tech-life expert Stephanie Humphrey on Twitter.