The Social Network Water Cooler Effect: Three Reasons Why Facebook and Twitter Might Save Television

Brian Stelter in NYT on how social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are creating a water cooler effect around big events like like Super Bowl, Oscars, Grammys and Winter Olympics–

Remember when the Internet was supposed to kill off television? That hasn’t been the case lately, judging by the record television ratings for big-ticket events… Many television executives are crediting the Internet, in part, for the revival.

Blogs and social Web sites like Facebook and Twitter enable an online water-cooler conversation, encouraging people to split their time between the computer screen and the big-screen TV… If viewers cannot be in the same room, the next best thing is a chat room.

The effect is obviously not limited to television. Online conversations can also help or hinder opening weekends for movies and the ratings for politicians. Recent studies of online social networks have affirmed what researchers have long recognized: people seek to be around and be influenced by like-minded individuals.

If you are a television channel or a film studio, here are three reasons why you should invest in social programs today –

1. Standalone online communities can focus people’s passion around big events and premiers and social networks like Facebook and Twitter can scale this passion into positive viral loops.

2. Holding onto attention is as important as getting attention. The online community that comes together around big events can stay around even after the event, if you create the right context.

3. Even more importantly, each big event can build upon the success of the previous events, so that the size and strength of the community grows over time.

TV channels and film studios are built around a few big properties and a lot of smaller properties. Online communities can help them attract fans through big properties, hold onto them till the next big property comes along, and even engage them in the smaller properties.

While the social network water cooler effect is biggest in the US, except Indian film studios and TV channels to also tap into it in the Indian context.

This is a classic use case for 2020 Social’s 3C approach to marketing (Campaigns + Community + CRM) where we run a series of campaigns to recruit members into the community, then use CRM programs to retain them and grow the community through referrals.

I build and nurture online communities as CEO of 2020 Social. Read my bio, interview me for a media story, invite me to speak at a conference or ask me how we can help you. E-mail me at [email protected], call me at +91-9999856940, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Slideshare.

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