Twitter, TV, & Metrics: From a “Professional” Fangirl Perspective

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2010 at 4:49 pm

While reading an interesting blog today about Hart Hanson choosing take a break from the @ replies section of his Twitter account, I got to thinking. In fact, the hamster was running in the wheel the minute I saw the title: “Hart Hanson Ditches @’s…is he ditching fans too?” My first thought was that it was written by a fan who was unhappy with the current story line and sure enough, I was right. I can’t lie and say that didn’t cloud my judgement a little bit. If a blogger is furious at the show, if they’re unhappy with the storyline, it’s going to cloud my judgement as a reader. But, as someone who isn’t exactly thrilled with the current storyline either, I figured I could look at it with an open mind. After all, I was the one who wrote a satirical letter to Booth from his testicles.

I continued on with the blog and there were things that definitely stuck out to me. There were things that I agreed with, there were things that I disagreed with and certain things that just screamed angry, disgruntled fangirl. At the end of the day, I’m a fangirl too, so I know what it feels like to be invested in a show and to feel disappointed in it. It really sucks. As people who have known me can tell you, I was the biggest NCIS fan up until last year. The show just started to go downhill for me. So guess what I did? I stopped watching. I didn’t turn to anyone who would listen to me on Twitter to vent my frustrations because:

A. That’s not my style and B. I knew it wouldn’t matter.

I’m just one of MILLIONS of people who made NCIS the number one show on Tuesday nights. I do still have friends on my Twitter feed who are really into NCIS and good for them. I’ve also seen tweets from some of the most vocal NCIS fans on Twitter saying that they’ve seen “so many people give up on the show.” “So many people” really hasn’t affected their ratings at all. Sure Glee has beaten them once or twice, but it’s Glee. It’s like a speeding, singing freight train…there’s just no stopping it.

However, that being said and with that thought in the back of my mind, the one thing that really stood out to me in the blog was this line:

One argument that Hanson really likes to make is that the folks who talk Bones on Twitter don’t represent the viewership at large.

My NCIS example just proved that this is true. One or two people can drop off, and the show will still move on. In fact, if every single one of Hart Hanson’s followers stopped watching Bones, it probably wouldn’t cause that great of a disaster. Certainly not all of those people who follow him are Nielsen families and therefore, if they were to drop off, it wouldn’t really be reflected in the numbers.

Need another example? My desk buddy here at the office watches Community just like I do. She doesn’t watch it right at 8PM on Thursday nights, but on Monday mornings we sit back and discuss the hilariousness that happened to be whatever Troy & Abed did. Does that make her any less of a fan? Does her opinion not count for anything? In the great span of things, it doesn’t. Sorry DB, but it’s true. You’re not a holder of the coveted Nielsen box, so your opinion really doesn’t matter all that much. (Except to me. I care.)

Am I being too harsh? It might seem like that, but the truth of the matter is that Hanson makes that argument for one reason: it’s true. When I’m not living under the guise of a cartoon sheep, I’m usually working. That work entails analyzing official numbers for companies to tell them just how they are interacting with their customers in the social media circuit. True statement: as more and more people “like” or “follow” companies on social media sites, the percentage of people who publicly interact with that company drops significantly. It’s not because of disinterest or the fact that they’re unhappy with the company. It’s simple: they’re just an average user of the company’s product or they’re just the average fan of the TV show. They’re not going to go out of their way to comment on a Facebook status or to reply to a tweet.

As hardcore fans of a TV show, we are not the average. We are in fact, the “brand advocates.” We’re the ones who are “noisy” on Twitter, telling anyone who we think will listen just what we think. We’re the ones who do read every spoiler and crawl the interwebs looking for as much information about the show because we love it so much. However, being a brand advocate comes with a price: entitlement. Certain fans, certain “brand advocates” feel that they’re owed something. They’ve invested their time, their money in your business and therefore they feel they should have a say in how the business is run. It’s like being a stockholder in a company.

That being said, when you own stock in a company and you don’t like a decision they’ve made, do you go to the next shareholders meeting and call the Executive VP of Finance a douchebag? Do you tell the head of Marketing that his campaign was shit? Do you call the President a tool?

You can bet your ass that if you did Security would haul you right out of the building.

Twitter is different. You can make the @ reply your own personal microphone and berate the hell out of someone who is doing something you don’t like. Again, this is where metrics come into play. Not every brand advocate for Bones berates the hell out of Hart Hanson. There are some of us who don’t like the story, and have said so and we’ve settled for that. We’ve said our piece without ten thousand exclamation points. We can make a fair statement without the Caps Lock button on.

Unfortunately, some “brand advocates” who feel entitled chose to go to that shareholders meeting (twitter) and yell & scream til they’re heard. They seem to do that via a series whiny, cranky, nasty tweets directed at (again) anyone they think will listen. They’re not polite, they’re constantly bitching and moaning again and again, in hopes that they will be heard and that something will change. When that vote comes down, they’re so sure that they’ve made their point that they forget about the other 9 million people who also have a vote. And again, the numbers make the difference.

Sadly, the fact of the matter is that you don’t write Bones. You don’t own Bones. It’s not your place to tell TPTB what to do. It’s not their place to sit there and apologize for the choices they’ve made. And with millions of people coming back week after week, with no SERIOUS drops in viewership, is there any reason why Hart Hanson wants to take a break from a few people who are constantly bitching at him? Avoiding the nastiness is the same as having the crazies thrown out of the shareholders meeting.

It’s completely understandable.

Fire At Will...But Please, Not The Face

  1. I started deleting the “crazies” as I coined them from Twitter because they were making the show almost unbearable. My feed was overrun with negativity and no matter who told them that what they were “preaching” didn’t matter, they kept at it. As if their few opinions would make a SUCCESSFUL writer like Hart change his direction or cause a company like FOX to intervene. Bones is my favorite show but over the years some fans have become a few neurons short a synapse.

    This was wonderfully written and I wish more of these super fans would realize that attacking Hart will accomplish nothing… except for maybe giving him a good laugh as he rolls up to his Malibu mansion in his FJ40. Because at the end of the day, HE is the one employed by Fox; HE is the one who writes/approves Bones’ scripts; HE is the one with the master plan; HE is the one who has been doing this for years and um, you know, KNOWS HOW TO DO HIS EFFIN JOB! Sometimes I’m ashamed to be a Bones fan because of these “super fans'” behavior.

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