Friday, September 4, 2009

Hey Fox, you're micro-blogging my view!

Last night my mom was freaking out because Twitter posts were on the television screen while she was watching Fringe. At first I thought her complaints were the voice of her opposition to the conformist “twitterland” that we're all being sucked into. She isn’t a fan of the social media renaissance. 
"Come out here and look at this Jessi! You have to see it!" 
I tore myself away from Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Yahoo, and went into the living room. To my surprise, what I saw really was bad! One third of the TV screen was being taken up with two tweets at a time, by the Fringe people answering fans' questions. 
At first it seems like a good idea: engage the audience in a conversation, celebrities answer questions live on TV, yes? 
NO! Three strikes, they’re out.

First strike: The beauty of social media is that it is conversational, putting power in the consumer’s hands. It’s not one-sided messages that TV throws at us. Last night we (the viewers) couldn’t see the questions and @FringeonFox didn't answer with the question built-in. Interviewing 101 – phrase your answer with the question. Question: What’s your favorite color. Correct answer: “My favorite color is blue.” Wrong answer: “Blue." Here are some of the tweets they posted:
- RT @PeterBishop2 @jimdumas - the answers are yes and yes. #fringe
- RT @LabDad1 Watch what happens #fringe
- RT @LabDad1 Look at this! #fringe
- RT @JPFringe Sanford Harris - what a sweetheart! #fringe
- Don't miss season 2 of #FRINGE premiering Thu 9/17 at 9/8c on #FOX.
- RT @LabDad1 @xcori Of course! I'm only human #fringe
- RT @JWFringe @aolli I am so glad you love the show. Thanks man!!! #fringe
- RT @LabDad1 Josh and Anna said that Clint Howard was fantastic to work with! #fringe
- RT @LabDad1 This is a very important scene! #fringe
- RT @LabDad1 I haven't seen this scene for ages! #fringe
- RT @LabDad1 This is pretty powerful #fringe
- RT @LabDad1 Watch this scene here - she's really mean to me! #fringe
- RT @PeterBishop2 I hope you mean "did" metaphorically. #fringe
- RT @LabDad1 this is really cool what happens here #fringe
- RT @PeterBishop2 Like Father Like Son. #fringe
What a waste of space. 

Strike two: Distraction. Tweets like, "Watch this!" and "This is powerful" don’t add to the plot. They actually make it impossible to watch with any kind of focus. Fringe isn't a light comedy where you don't need details. It's a metaphysical-psycho-drama that you want to pay attention to. By distracting their viewers, they have taken away from the product. If their goal was to detract value from the show and replace it with sensationalism, they might have hit their mark. Here are some tweets that went out from their audience last night:
- bobh62000 @FRINGEonFOX I will never watch Fringe again if I see twitter popping up on my TV.
- irishgirlene @FRINGEonFOX: why r u doing this on screen and will u b doing this all season
- Eskissmo_chick @Fringe This is rediculous! I hope this doesn't happen on any other good shows.
- HeatherAre @fringe how do I turn this off my tv?!
- gregtarnoff @mkebiz seriously? I can't watch it because they are distracting. Bad move @fox @fringe #fringe
Strike three: It's contrived. Unofficial rules 1, 2, and 3 in social marketing: be genuine, be relevant, be transparent. Rule 4: listen, don’t push. Fox decided to take up 1/3 of the screen during a show that has avid and intelligent followers, to disseminate drivel. I wonder if they filmed for it. Did they actually compromise creative integrity to make space for these tweets? I hope not.  Either way it was not asked for by their audience, it was “forced.” I hope Fox uses Twitter to listen, not just to masturbate in the mirror. 
- carsnmoney00 @fringe I hope you idiots dont do this again
By the time it all ended – the hoopla and the show – my mom threw up her hands and said, "I didn't even see the show!"


  1. the point is almost inarguable...maybe if there were a way to turn it off to watch the show it would be less offensive. but its a really unfortunate distraction to be sure. a bullet in the foot for the show.

    well presented, Jessi...and a nice kill shot!

  2. Thank you!

    Yes there are ways to possibly pull it off, it's not a bad idea.

    If they're lucky and they stop now, it's possible they haven't lost their loyal viewers and they will actually have gotten some publicity, albeit the wrong kind.

  3. It could get crazy...

    - So I guess the next option we will have is to pay for non-tweeted programing or purchase a tweet free box for the tv.

    - HeathrAre @fringe how do I turn this off my tv?! and you on?lmao

    - gregtrnoff @mkebiz seriously? I can't watch it because they are distracting. Hot move I want more @fox @fringe #fringelol

  4. I don't live in the States thus, didn't see the show myself ... I did however have the @fringe tweets beeping at me (far too often) on Tweetdeck, so I had a running commentary of the general feelings of the show's viewers... I thought that it was a GameShow, what serious Drama Show would even contemplate such a thing ... I mean, even a tiny strip right at the bottom of the screen would be inappropriate for anything other than a gimmicky GameShow or TalkShow.

    Great for though ... wonder if many $$'s changed hands over it?
    They wouldn't have done it like that if they'd had a Little Black Mask! ! !

  5. creative (Jim) - nice repurposing of tweets!! lol

    dru - it was more boring than a game show!

    Thanks guys for the comments. Hopefully we all can learn from others' mistakes ;)