As a television producer, my job is to help create content for audiences worldwide. The projects I work on require enormous amounts of resources to generate and distribute. Each television season we produce requires the collective efforts of hundreds of people, months of production lead-time, with additional months, if not years, before deficit costs are recovered in the form of sales on iTunes, DVDs and broadcast syndication. It would be virtually impossible for any of us as individuals to privately produce programming in this way, let alone get it to a broad audience, but Social Media has now created a completely different paradigm.
With Social Media everyone can now create and distribute content, and we can get an instantaneous response from our audience in the form of comments. We’ve just become potential filmmakers, studios, networks and Nielsen families all rolled into one! Of course, not everyone has something to say, but notice that didn’t stop me from agreeing to do a blog!
This trend has not only democratized media creation and distribution, giving rise to talent that might not have been discovered otherwise, but it has also affected how traditional media outlets perform as well. This season on “Nurse Jackie,” Dr. Cooper joins Twitter and starts sending Tweets at work. Showtime set up a live followers list for the character so that viewers watching the show live could receive Dr. Cooper’s tweets in real time.
Not only does this encourage audiences to tune in for live broadcasts, making those initial ratings pop, but it gives the viewer another way to feel like they’re participating in a collective social event. Afterwards they can go onto the Facebook site and share their thoughts with others in the Nurse Jackie viewing community.
In the end, aren’t we all just looking for a way to connect, to participate in something bigger than ourselves? Maybe some of that has just gotten a little easier with Social Media, so long as it becomes a means to that end, rather than a substitute for interacting with the actual world around us.
So, Blog on, my friends! The cyber water’s fine.