People who are fascinated by social media have often been called “narcissists” by the traditional press. Even Stephen Colbert poked fun at Twitter founder Biz Stone during his interview, essentially asking why anyone would care about what someone ate for breakfast.
What I fail to understand about the dismissals and criticism of social media by traditional pundits is why they can’t see the additional add revenue it would bring in. TV channels and news sources should be eating this stuff up. Earlier today, I was watching “Heroes”. Anyone who pays attention to my Facebook and Twitter feeds knows I love this show. I’m doing what I can to catch up so I will be able to watch episodes as they come out. “Heroes” is so popular it has its own wiki community dedicated to everything about the show. Yet when I go to the NBC site, their “Heroes” group has a measly 542 members. NOTE TO NBC: You are slacking on the community stuff. There are currently 2425 people subscribed to my Twitter feed and I’m just a goofy girl from Austin. You could crush me with your pinky. There is another “Heroes” page on the NBC site that has behind the scenes footage, comics and other fun stuff. It even has cast members’ Twitter feeds. It’s not really a community though. I can’t meet fellow “Heroes” fans to have discussions about the show. God forbid actually interacting with the cast members or writers there.
The New York Times is read all over the world. They could write articles and then lead readers to discussions about those articles. But they don’t even allow for comments. They sit and struggle while blogs like Mashable and TechCrunch kill it in ad revenue. Their Twitter feed is merely a push channel. If we are reading the New York Times, are we so dumb that we can’t actually add value to the topic at hand? If this is the case, should we read something that wouldn’t make us so dumb? You can moderate the comments. Why not give it a try?
WAKE UP CALL: When you are as popular as “Heroes” or the New York Times, you can integrate tools similar to Twitter and Facebook IN YOUR SITE. It’s what your content management system or a simple embed code from something like UStream or Shout’Em can do. Since you have a big enough fan base, pull your fans into your site, interact with them and let them interact with each other, and THEN SELL ADS THERE. Get feedback for what’s good and consider producing more of it, and for what sucks, and then produce less of that. Why would you 1.) let down your fans by not doing everything you can to enhance their experience and 2.) waste the potential ad revenue? It makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.
Meanwhile, we have buffoons out there who get the technology but don’t actually have something worthwhile for people to talk about. These are the “narcissists” you so love to point out. Please put these people back to work by actually figuring this stuff out. It’s sweet but it gets old.
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