When the Old Guard Tries New Media…

…it’s not pretty.

I cringe whenever I’m asked to “click to continue” after a commercial break when streaming an episode online at abc.com (never mind the fact that you can’t download these shows), or when reality shows promote a series of blogs written by their characters (pah-leeze, we know it’s an intern). Television is flailing, and I feel like these half-assed forays into social media aren’t helping.

Maybe I should have titled this post, “Dude, you look bad.” Because, really, you do. And it’s kind of embarrassing.

Earlier this month, the Oprah show debuted it’s own channel on YouTube. Because it was Oprah, it was a big deal. In her first “welcome to YouTube” message, she enthusiastically says the word “YouuuTuuube” eleven times in the course of 2 minutes. Count it for yourself, here. Oprah comes across as well-meaning, but ultimately clueless. I applaud the effort, but wonder if the camera guy could’ve done better.

When Oprah’s channel first launched, the videos did not provide embed codes. Bloggers were dismayed, a disgruntled meme ensued. Someone behind the controls must’ve been paying attention, because soon after, the embed codes appeared. I find this an encouraging development–maybe big media can learn new tricks.

I’ve been playing close attention to Oprah’s launch on YouTube, hoping to gleam some nuggets of “dos and don’ts” from this public experiment. Here’s what I have so far:

1. Do embed. If you’re using YouTube as a promotional tool, then it makes sense to provide users with the tools to promote it. Embedding enables user-generated content and conversation.

2. Don’t parade commercials as content. Nobody logs onto YouTube to see promos for next week’s television-only show. Please, man. Keep the 20-second promo in the advertising area. You don’t need to give me original content, but you do need to give me quality content. (Not to mention, a 2-minute clip of next week’s show will do far more to pique my interests than a flat 20-second spot.) Below is a good example of quality content–a behind-the-scenes look at how they produce the Oprah Show:

3. Do acknowledge the community. One of the smartest things the Oprah folks do is kick-off their channel by acknowledging some of the YouTube’s most famous, homegrown stars.

4. Do be careful about comments. I tend to think about it this way — if you’re not a white, middle-to-upper class, hetero-normative male, then you should expect some hateful comments. When you’re a public figure like Oprah, I think it makes perfect sense to moderate comments.

5. Don’t miss the party. One of the things I kept wondering was, what took them so long? After Oprah’s first video surpassed 1,000,000 views, I’m sure the Oprah folks were regretting the decision to not move on YouTube sooner. Social media is the future, folks. If you don’t have the technology in-house (and most of you don’t), then I suggest getting on these third-party platforms.


2 Responses

  1. Hilarious that you counted the number of times Oprah said YouTube – it stood out to me the first time I viewed it too….

  2. […] noticed that, next to corporate lawyers and sleepy government agencies, television shows have the hardest time adapting to social media. I’m not sure why, but I have some ideas. First, there seems to be a natural inclination to […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: