Category Archives: social media

INSIDE: A Social TV Experience

I hadn’t heard much about this project, so I only took a few glances this afternoon. But when it was still going strong at 8pm I had to watch the trailer.

The INSIDE page on Facebook says:

Inside consists of film, videos and social media interactions. These pieces will live organically on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. But you can also see all highlights and films in one place at http://www.theinsideexperience.com/, as events happen.

Intel and Toshiba present a Social Film experience, from the director of “Disturbia,” starring Emmy Rossum and You.

Christina is a tough, resilient, 24-year old girl. She’s been trapped in a room. She has a laptop. And she needs your help to get out.

The website keeps going down (didn’t they anticipate the traffic?)

From a glance, it seems like Facebook has been far more engaged that Twitter on a pure numbers basis, but there’s still a lack of general buzz.

Just over 600 followers on Twitter. Really? (As of 8:30pm EST)

Christina’s first activity was three days ago. I didn’t hear about it until the first “episode” premiered today.

Conclusion: I love the idea, and I like the level of commitment they’re putting into this, but why isn’t there more of a following? Is it just early? The whole thing didn’t seem to be advertised too much (I like to think I would’ve at least heard SOMETHING about it before now).

Why is it sponsored by Intel and Toshiba?

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Can Social Media Save Live TV?

This article first appeared on The Next Great Generation on July 12, 2011.

Until recently, I had serious doubts about the survival of TV as we know it. With the Internet so ingrained in daily life, and platforms like Hulu and Netflix offering an abundance of content on-demand, I couldn’t see the network television concept being sustained. Then I bought an iPad.

Like many users, I’ve been blown away by the “second screen” experience with the iPad. I use it almost constantly while watching TV, most often to monitor Twitter or Facebook. This newfound addiction spurred a realization: it’s way harder for you to engage with social media if you’re watching DVR’d content.

One of the best things about recorded content is the ability to skip commercials and watch shows at your leisure. But commercials provide the necessary downtime for reading and posting on social media platforms. Increasingly, actors, producers, and writers are live-tweeting with their fans. Because more conversations about TV are happening on Twitter and Facebook, spoilers are everywhere (especially if the spoilers abound on Twitter and Facebook – and very especially if the DVR content you’re watching is time-shifted just a few hours.)

When you add all of these factors up, it’s hard to argue that social media could save live television. A June 29 report from eMarketer supports this.

The report states:

When it comes to socializing TV in real time, Twitter has emerged as the leader. TV networks have begun to insert hashtags on-screen in an effort to bring real-time conversations together under a common banner, and encouraging actors and other talent to live-tweet to boost engagement.

A few months ago I wrote about how Scrubs/Cougar Town Creator Bill Lawrence used social media to engage fans and build buzz before Cougar Town’s spring finale. After having a few Twitter conversations with Bill himself, and after the ensuing (star-struck) excitement, I now believe absolutely that socialTV is going to revolutionize the way we experience entertainment. GigaOM blogger Janko Roettgers even wonders that if Twitter was as popular in 2006 as it is now, could it have saved shows like Arrested Development?

This graph from eMarketer shows that when Survivor host Jeff Probst started live-tweeting during episodes, Twitter activity around the show spiked. Social media and TV are colliding and fans totally love it.

But it’s not just Twitter – Facebook is showing potential to harness a different aspect of socialTV: the schedule guide.

At a marketing conference on June 30 Andy Mitchell, SVP of Strategic Partner Development at Facebook said, “If you look at the program guide [as it stands now], you’re trying to figure out what to watch among five hundred channels. It’s really hard…But think about a program guide where you see what your friends are watching, that changes the experience.”

Lost Remote follows that up with an interesting idea:

Facebook also offers the ability to schedule and check into events, which could have interesting implications for a social TV guide. Speaking earlier this year, Facebook’s Christian Hernandez Gallardo says they’ve spoken with broadcasters about the idea of “putting their full EPG (electronic programming guide) as events on Facebook and the ability to RSVP and check-in to all of them.”

That seems to makes sense. I already use Facebook events to help schedule my social life, and I’d rather put entries for TV shows on Facebook than my more important and serious Google calendar. Seeing what my friends are watching via a suggestion guide seems intuitive without being pushy.

It just seems natural to be extending the entertainment experience from the big screen to the second screens. And I’d much rather be part of the action while it happens, instead of looking back on it after the fact.

What do you think – does social media have the power to save live TV?

Twitter Journalism: Why You Should Take it Seriously

My latest article is up on The Next Great Generation! Here’s a quick taste, and please click over to keep reading!

Photo credit: Richmond Magazine

While social media is gaining speed and recognition within the journalism world, the buzz has centered on international events, specifically in the Middle East. NPR editor Andy Carvin showed Twitter’s potential when he became what the Guardian called a “one-man broadcast channel-cum-newswire.”

But what about domestic issues? For the most part, Twitter has not been an effective or powerful tool for journalists in America, reporting on American issues…until now.

New York Times reporter Brian Stelter recently demonstrated Twitter’s rightful place in the journalism industry through his coverage of the tornado outbreak in Joplin, Missouri in May, 2011.

We’ve heard about the resulting devastation and loss of human life, but unless your family was literally in a tornado’s path, it’s difficult to fully grasp the mental and emotional severity of the situation, even in this age of “Breaking News” and text alerts.

Enter Brian Stelter. In the span of 24 hours, Stelter used Twitter and Instagram to report on the Joplin tornados in a completely new way. He opened the window to his experience in real-time by sharing not just facts about the disaster, but also his own struggle to comprehend it. Click here to read more.

Social Media Face Off: Twitter vs. Facebook

This post first appeared on The Next Great Generation on May 9, 2011. 

On April 21, TVGuide.com declared Glee will begin using #hashtags on screen during their show.

In the comments, someone expressed a desire for Twitter to die. All I could think was, “Wow, you really don’t get it.” But then I got to thinking about how many of my friends make incessant fun of me for being a full-blown Twitter addict (hey – it’s not crack), and swear Facebook is the only way to go. I love my friends, but they also just don’t get it.

I’m going to help all you haters out by sharing my take on Facebook vs. Twitter. (FYI, this post will gloss over some details because I’d rather focus on the main ideas. Hear me out, and then you can bash me.)

1. Facebook: It’s really only good for your personal life.

Right now, Facebook is probably essential to your social life. I don’t care if you’re on It 25 hours a day or once a month, you can’t deny its convenience for sharing information, keeping in touch, and planning events.

If you’re like me, you keep your FB on tight lock-down, with only people you really trust given full access. It’s easier to keep a closed circle than censor your every status update, especially because there’s no way to control what awful picture your drunk friend may tag you in.

You’re probably not going to give a prospective employer, someone you just met, or a new industry contact full access to your profile. But these people are essential to growing your network and discovering new personal and professional opportunities, so Facebook just ain’t gonna cut it.

Enter Twitter. I witnessed this short exchange a few weeks ago:

Forget about the content and focus on the idea: it’s easier to mobilize people and build an involved community through Twitter than Facebook. Period.

2. Twitter: The tool that can enhance your personal AND professional life

Unless everyone you know is already on Twitter, starting out sucks. Accept that if you want to reap the benefits, you need to push through the pain.

Pain points include few to no followers, the intense speed at which information moves, and annoying spam. It takes time, but with a little bit of stamina, Twitter can become the most useful tech tool you’ve ever laid hands on.

If you’re in the marketing/advertising/technology/entertainment industry, Twitter is where all the information sharing and conversations are happening. You can expect potential employers to look for you on Twitter. Use that to your advantage by allowing it to act like your real-time resume.

When people view your profile, your stream offers an instant taste of who you are and what you’re currently talking about. This can tell prospective employers whether or not you’re a fit for their organization. It may sound a little scary, but it can be a huge opportunity for you to consistently show:

1) What you’re interested in,

2) That you know what’s going on in the industry,

3) Your unique voice and personality.

A single, well-crafted Tweet can accomplish a whole lot, and possibly influence the opportunities you get.  That Tweet could also get buried in the noise, never to be seen – but that’s your safety blanket. You’re given infinite chances to test the waters, make mistakes, and figure out how it all works.

Now think about the flow of information and news, and how you currently obtain it. Do you watch CNN? Read the New York Times online? Monitor favorite blogs via Google Reader?

Twitter can do all of that for you, but in real time. (Plus you can avoid the usage wall at nytimes.com).

A couple weeks ago, two photojournalists were killed in Libya. I knew about it hours before CNN declared anything because I follow journalists who are actually on the ground there. Osama bin Laden was killed on May 1. Where did the news break first? Twitter.

Were you effected by the AWS server #fail on April 21? When Hootsuite refused to load, multiple sources on Twitter.com told me what, why, and how in minutes – way faster than if I had Googled a question.

I know Twitter isn’t for everyone and that’s fine. But if you’re an info-junkie or cool-hunter, there is no substitute for the sheer access it provides to anything you’re interested in. Friends. Employers. Informants. Zach Braff.

In the end,

3. Just use both!

Facebook is for people you’d invite to your wedding. Twitter is for everything else.

One last picture from my dear friend Shona, who used to be a hater (She’s talking about studying Arabic).

My First Article is Live on #TNGG!

I just wanted to post a quick note saying that my first article is live on The Next Great Generation (TNGG)!

TNGG is “an online magazine written by young people 18-27 about our generation, divulging the secrets of what it means to be young today.” Big thanks to Community Manager Christine Peterson (who also happens to be a friend of mine) for helping me get set up as a TNGG author.

This first article is a bit of a re-purpose from one I wrote a couple weeks back about social media engagement and Cougar Town. Check it out!

The Revolution Will Be…Accidentally Tweeted?

I woke up this morning to multiple CNN Breaking News email alerts and this Tweet from my friend Shona:

Obviously I high-tailed it over to @ReallyVirtual, who at the time (around 7am EST) already had 20,000 followers. I wonder how many he had twelve hours ago?

When I checked @ReallyVirtual again before I left the house (around 8am EST) he was at 25,000 followers – 5,000+ in less than an hour. Impressive.

Now I’m at work and while Twitter.com seems to be displaying the wrong numbers, Hootsuite has @ReallyVirtual‘s follower count at 31,783 – 10,000+ new people in less than two hours. Whoops, now it’s past 32,000.

The only coherent thought I can put together right now is that social media must, on some level, be forcing accountability and making it harder to….censor details from the public. I’m not big on conspiracy theory, but I acknowledge that there are certain filters installed in American media. Yes, this “censorship” may be deemed necessary under the guise of safety, but I don’t like knowing that what I hear on CNN is probably not exactly what happened.

I really think social media is:

  1. Revolutionizing the journalism industry
  2. Forcing a level of accountability and transparency in media that’s unlike anything we’ve seen before.

Hell, Twitter was the first place to report Osama’s death. “Twitter was faster, more accurate, and more entertaining than any other news source out there.”

Hot damn, indeed.

Hootsuite is Awesome…Except for the Sync Thing

*Edit at 5:57pm 4/21/11: I wrote this post early this morning, before the Hootsuite server #fail via Amazon was known. This rant doesn’t apply to that issue, it’s something I’ve been frustrated with for weeks. 

<start rant>

Ok, maybe I’m missing some huge tech issue here, but why on earth can’t Hootsuite sync my web account with my app accounts on my Droid and iPad?

I even talked to them over Twitter a few weeks ago, and they said the only way to update my app information is to reset everything.

Now, I tend to be a pretty anal person and organizing is one of my favorite things to do, so when I spend more than an hour on Hootsuite.com, putting Tweeps into lists and tabs and making everything efficient and pretty, I want that shit to auto-sync to my phone and tablet! I’m using those more than my computer anyways these days.

Gmail does it. Facebook does it. So what’s the problem? If I’m overlooking some honest tech wall, tell me!

It doesn’t help my mood that while I write this, Hootsuite.com is down. Hey, maybe they’re putting a sync thing in! That would be sweet.

<end rant>