The lines between virtual and reality are constantly being blurred. It seems as if the only thing separating these two entities is a finely-erased line. Every TV show has a badge in some corner of the screen with the proper “hashtag” to use while “live tweeting” about the show. Just last night, the Food Network prompted the use of the tag “#Star” while @altonbrown (and the other team leaders whom I don’t follow..sorry Giada and Bobby..) updated followers throughout the premier with his (hilarious) insights on the episode. Don’t get me wrong, I joined right in and showed my #TeamAlton spirit.
But it does give me pause for concern. My (knock on wood) future career relies on people seeing an advertisement and talking about it. There are just so many ways to talk about something. If the joint use of social and traditional media is any indication, consumers want to talk about everything; this open discourse is important to consumers. It’s evolved from using a phone with a real cord to call your friends after the episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” to confirm your allegiance to Spike to picking up a smartphone to broadcast your displeasure over the “American Idol” vote to, literally, the world.
How does someone monitor all of these conversations? And how do you respond to them? They say that one negative review ensures that 10 people will hear about it and choose not to buy whatever it is that you’re selling. But with social media and the rabid dissemination of all sorts of messages, that number is more likely to be some exponential integer. In an article on the AdAge website, “CW’s ‘Twitter Party,’ or the Upfront’s Hinging on Social,” CW’s VP of integrated sales and marketing, Alison Tarrant reflects:
CW was careful not to bombard fans with irrelevant or aggressively promotional content […] You have to be very thoughtful and strategic about whether it makes sense for brands to play in social media. If users feel they can’t get anything of value, they will ignore the promotion or, worse, discuss their annoyance with friends and followers.
What does this mean for social media, and larger, traditional media? Well, using social media to connect and extend the reach of traditional media will provide a closer connection to the brand, or so thinks Lisa Gurry, senior director at Bing.
So it seems that we’re stuck with the hashtag in the corner of the screen during any given episode that’s broadcast. If this allows consumers to speak to exactly what they want, and takes some guess-work out of the advertising process, well then I’m up for the challenge.