By Ashley Paula
The flurry of conversation and reaction over social media about what we see on TV is nothing new. Whether it’s the Presidential debate, sports, or American Idol, folks are constantly moving and driving the discussion via social networks. A perfect example of this is last month’s Packers vs. Seahawks Monday night football game, when replacement referees blew the last call of the game, giving the Seahawks a 14-12 victory over the Packers. What is particularly interesting about this specific case, however, is that people, who weren’t watching or listening to the game at all, saw the commotion on social networks and tuned into ESPN to watch the last part of the game. The most activity that night was seen on Twitter, with posts from fans, players and celebrities fueling a spiral of discussion and outrage.
Wall Street Journal’s All Things D technology reporter, Peter Kafka posed an excellent question in his storycovering the matter: What did all the commotion on Twitter do for Monday night football’s ratings that night? And better yet, will Twitter’s online discussions generate more TV Network views? This is a great question, to which we instinctively know the answer is yes, but as fellow Urban Times author, Sarah Rose, discussed in her article,The Social Media Measurement Mystery, we’ve yet to come up with a standard method of measurement to prove it.
Red Bull took advantage of this social media effect when it sent Felix Baumgartner on its Red Bull Stratos Mission to the edge of space. More than 8 million people worldwide tuned into Red Bull’s YouTube Channel to watch the two-hour livestream of Baumgartner’s historic freefall, which broke a number of records of human limits, including the first person to break the speed of sound.
According to ABC News and the Huffington Post, Baumgartner’s jump was also featured on more than 40 TV stations and 130 digital outlets, and half the worldwide trending topics on Twitter were regarding Red Bull Stratos. Red Bull’s Facebook photo of Baumgartner post-jump attracted almost 216,000 likes, 10,000 comments and over 29,000 shares within 40 minutes.
Our mass media landscape continues to shift as digital and social media platforms and devices continue to gain popularity, and the way we consume news continues to evolve. What will the landscape look like in 5-10 years with the continued decline of US newspapers? Is print going away, or is this simply the beginning of more competitive national newspapers? Is there a decline of what we like to call “real journalists” and “real reporting”? And are we creating a world of impatient journalists and quick readers with the capacity to only read 140-characters?
And does it have anything to do with ever-decreasing level of trust in the U.S. mass media? According to a recent study by Gallup, Americans mistrust traditional media more than ever before with 60 percent of respondents saying they trust the mass media “not very much” or “not at all”. This not only affects where and how we consume news, but also where we gather information that forms our opinions on matters from policy and education, to where to buy clothing or shop for food.
As illustrated by the Monday Night Football and Red Bull Stratos examples, businesses are also finding the need to adapt from the perspective of marketing and communication transparency. Not only do companies need to have a presence on digital devices and platforms, and social media networks, but they are part of ongoing, dynamic online conversations as well. As organic online conversations continue to attract more viewers, customers, etc., to a brand or company, will social networks and/or advertisers need to identify new ways to quantify and measure its effectiveness and return on investment? And how will this affect the overall media and digital landscape?
This Evolution of Digital Media blog series will explore the current and evolving American media landscape, and what we might expect it look like in the next 5-10 years. We will address the shift to digital media and its effect on journalism and how people consume information, as well as different ways to measure this. We’ll also explore the issue of trust in traditional vs. social media, and the changing advertising and marketing landscape.
This blog was originally posted on the Urban Times.