This month I’ve been working on a freelance project from The Paley Center for Media. The Paley Center does these great panel discussions with the cast and crew of all types of TV shows. My job is to review the discussions and choose which clips should go on Hulu, and then create the descriptions and metadata for those clips.
I love working on this because it gives me great insight into the world of TV. One of the discussions I just completed was The Apprentice. The panel included Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, Don Trump Jr, and Mark Burnett (you may remember him from a little show called Survivor).
During one clip Mark and Ivanka discussed the role social media has in this show – Ivanka tweets during the broadcast, giving hints about storyline, who may get fired etc. She notes that it’s a very delicate balance to compose interesting tweets that don’t give too much away for the West Coast, which won’t see the ending until 3 hours later.
I love how people are using Twitter like this. One reason why social media exists is to supplement our experience with media and entertainment in general, and it just seems natural for television shows to use Twitter and Facebook to engage their viewers on a different level. I mean, people are already on their laptops surfing Facebook, or checking tweets on their cell phones while watching these shows (let’s face it, we’re a society of multi-taskers with limited attention spans), so it only makes sense to engage them through these channels.
Mark made another interesting point in this discussion: During a film screening, people tweet. They tweet what they like, what they hate, about the film’s characters and storyline and production value – all before the movie’s even ended. Mark stated that this has a different effect on viewers because it can make or break peoples’ decision to go to the theater, shell out $15 for a ticket, and actually see the flick. This phenomenon is not something that is easy, if even possible, to control for the studios – they have to accept it and find ways around it.
Check out this article about how the Pacific Symphony used Twitter to their advantage during one show.
I find all this absolutely fascinating (not to mention spot on right!) This is just another example of how powerful social media is, and why we absolutely cannot ignore it when it comes to media production.