Post by Sarah Marshall:
In our class discussions, we talk a lot about waiting anxiety, fan activity, and producer to fan relationships. For fans of television shows, waiting for the next season of their beloved series and be agitating. It can sometimes take more than a year for a new season to be released. During these long stretches of time without new material, devoted fans often turn to the internet to fill the void, most popularly tumblr, facebook, and twitter.
Being an active member of the social networking website tumblr, it is nearly impossible to scroll down my dash without seeing a post dedicated to a specific fandom; Supernatural, Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Downton Abbey just to name a few. Through blogging, the fans of these shows express their feelings about the plot, their love for a character, what they think should happen, or simply posting a group of pictures or gifs (moving images) from their favorite scenes. Fellow fans, specifically on tumblr, not only re-blog these posts to share with their own followers but will also add to the post, creating a circulating conversation between other fans of the same show. Sharing their opinions and receiving other’s opinions on their favorite television series helps devoted fans stay in the fictional world even when the show is on hiatus.
Even television networks are catching on to the trend. BBC’s Doctor Who has its own tumblr page upon which it will not only fill in its viewers on what’s going on with the production, but also re-blog and communicate with the fans. The fans of this series immediately feel more devoted to the show, feeling like the show, in turn, is giving back to them by acknowledging their existence and their support.
Communication is essential. If an official television show blog does not communicate back and forth with its followers, the blog is simply a very large, very annoying advertisement. ABC’s Once Upon A Time makes use of all three: facebook, tumblr, and twitter. Both Doctor Who and Once Upon A Time have very devoted fan-followings and used this to their advantage via popular social networking sites.
Do you follow any shows on facebook, tumblr, or twitter? What do you think about television networks use of social networking to promote their shows? Has social networking ever led you to marathon a series?
7 thoughts on “Social Networking: Fan to Fan and Fan to Producer”
I think that the networks’ use of social networking is a really smart marketing strategy. I follow Happy Endings on Facebook, and their updates are what tided me over the summer. The show will share funny quotes, teases about the new season, pictures and polls—all before the premiere date. Facebook’s connection to that show kept me interested during the hiatus, and also ensured my viewership for the next season. ABC’s use of Facebook keeps the relationship between the viewer and show going during the off-months, and can also draw new fans to Happy Endings. For example, there are a lot of similarities between this show and Friends. Those who have ‘like’ Friends on Facebook might see Happy Endings as a suggested page, and check it out. And who knows? Facebook might have just drawn another fan to the show. TV networks’ use of social networking keeps current fans interested and can actually engage new people with the shows. I think they are using a really interesting, effectual marketing campaign and I know they have helped continue my own fandom of Happy Endings.
I agree with Rachel that networks’ use of social networking is a smart marketing strategy, especially today where every other person is a member of at least one type of social network.
Personally, I follow the Bravo Networks’ page on Twitter where there are updates of what shows are popular and what time they will air. Also, the Bravo page suggested that I follow Andy Cohen who is one of the Networks’ hosts and now has his own show. By following both Andy and Bravo, I am always updated about which shows are playing this season and what surprise guests will be on Andy’s talk show for the week. Bravo and Andy both interact with fans by re-tweeting comments about certain episodes and answering burning questions about characters or reunions.
Although advertisements are annoying, if networks use social media as a way to interact with viewers more than advertise their network, I believe that every network should be using social media to promote their shows. It is definitely the best marketing plan for almost any business in today’s tech savvy world.
I started following Glee on Twitter a couple of months ago and have found myself stuck on their page for over an hour at a time scrolling through old video and photo posts with sneak previews and production info. The most use I ever got out of their Twitter account was during the shows five week hiatus this season. This mid-season break has always really bothered me, but it wasn’t until now that I had an outlet to keep up with the show even while it wasn’t airing. They kept viewers up to date during the span of time that they couldn’t exercise traditional dedication in the form of viewing. It reeked of: “We didn’t forget about you, so don’t forget about us!” I thought this was a brilliant promotional technique for the show to utilize. It’s a way for them to keep the show in viewers lives even when the TV if off. The only time it bothers me is when the are trying to shove marketing down your throat, so to speak. As long as they keep it subtle, I’m all for it!
I agree with everyones comments with regards to shows being involved with social networks being a great idea. I follow Game of Thrones on Facebook, but there isn’t much going on right now due to the fact, the new season hasn’t started yet, although they do post sporadically. Most of the posts now have to do with advertising, which almost makes me want to unfollow them. I also am on Twitter, but I don’t follow any of the shows, I follow a celebrity that loves one of the shows I like to watch, Boardwalk Empire. She even retweed one of my tweets to her. Now that the season is over, I won’t be chatting her up again until next season. Oh and I do follow Atlanta Housewives on Facebook and Nene Leakes on Twitter. I feel like I know Nene and she will give me the “T” about what’s going on and what really happened behind the scenes on the show or during the episode.
I follow Barney Stinson on twitter. I’m not usually on twitter, but i make it a point to see what Barney’s talking about every week. He has a link to his blog, wear Barney talks about something he said/thought/did during the last episode. i haven’t seen the latest one yet, but the last one i read was how Barney rated several NYC strip clubs (because the plot revolved around him picking a new one.) i like reading what the character has to say because it makes him seem real. he even makes references to his blog in the show. As for following the show itself, i follow it on facebook so i can get sneak peaks and behind the scenes stuff that i wouldn’t normally get.
Love the idea that your blog post offers, I think it’s very “now”. I used to follow Dexter on Facebook but when I no longer had access to the channel it’s on I had to stop following it,.. it was too hard to see updates and quotes without knowing what was going on. Seeing it pop up on my newsfeed was actually a bit painful! It’s funny how things like that happen and can feel so serious- almost like when a person needs to stop seeing an old friend you burned a bridge with or an ex’s updates. You’re not in on the story so you don’t want to know what’s going on without you. That’s how I felt about Dexter.
As for shows that I have started watching because of social networking, Girls is the best example of that. My friends would post funny quotes or even video clips of their favorite scenes. I didn’t think I had HBO so a friend an I torrented the whole first season (which took hours) but now I can watch the new season starting in Jan on my laptop through HBOgo! I am so excited!
I think social networking is a great way for a series to be discovered as well as a way for people who are fans of a series to stick together.
This was a really cool concept that you tapped in on. As Elise has mentioned, this is super relevant to today’s society where viewers and consumers heavily base their experiences off of technology, especially computers and the internet. I found myself following characters from my favorite show Pretty Little Liars as well as on Instagram. I found that this helped me feel more connected to the characters as well as I got to see how different or similar they are to their character on screen. Especially for Instagram, I find this more appealing because I can see pictures of them on and off set and more importantly, their outfits. This was a huge draw for me in continuing to watch their show so I found this to be a fun way to get ‘more’ out of a marathoner show.
I also found that on Twitter, though I do not follow them myself, re-tweets of the character from Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw, is constantly coming up on my news feed. Even though I refuse to follow a fictional character I get a sort of guilty pleasure out of reading the re-tweets because the quotes and jokes the character makes serves as a reward for being a long time viewer.