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Why TV Is the Main Crossroad for Social Media

There's been a big misunderstanding among Social Media professionals for the last 5 years:TV was the main public ennemy. TV was hell, whereas Social Media was supposed to be heaven.

in fact, there's been a fantastic retaliation against TV, concentrating decades of frustrations because of traditional advertising agencies, because of decades of wrong principles that have led to a complete gap between real user experience and marketing products. We've discovered that ROI based on TV indicators was a constraint instead of a set of metrics. And we've sometimes realized in Social Media that these GRP-like indicators were probably fake or wrong, to justify some marketing plans.

Because TV industry was in Europe first shaped for political reasons: in France, we had ORTF, which was "the voice of France". In this world, citizens were considered as passive. And then, TV discovered business, so passive citizens became passive audiences...

But I think that we, Social Media activists, were partly wrong too: we've melt TV as a support and TV as an industry.

TV is, in the history of media, one of the first places in which a community (family, friends etc.) decided to sit in frond of a screen, on a daily basis. Prime time is still important; TV is a source of information, social signals, which are then shared among social circles. That's the reason why we need to better understand not what TV does to citizens, but what citizens (therefore users) do with TV.

Because TV as a support, as a place for citizens & consumers, has never been more important than in our digital era. I absolutely disagree with Isra Garcia when she writes that "we are still using the telephone, post and TV but it is not working as effectively as it did before". To my mind, TV is working more effectively because it's now changing the way TV shows are broadcast (you can replay, you can record, you can recommend it, you can have it on any device...), shaped (when you watch "The Voice", you realize how deeply Social Media is used within the core story).

For instance, Twitter's main business is not revolutions in North Africa but mostly entertainment. The thing is that Social Media needs contents, and that TV industry's probably one of the most achieved value chain when it comes to buidling interactive experience. Tablets or more generally digital screens, the key digital supports that are available in real life, are made for videos & slideshows instead of keyboard-related conversations. If we are a bit provocative: true conversations with deep meanings, that require big writings, are very rare in Social Media. Social Media is about emotions: you share, you like, you rate, you quickly react. But spending more time on a single content is time-demanding. And in this emotional world, TV knows how to cultivate passions: because a TV-programme potentially is a social destination.

Debra Aho Williamson (eMarketer) recently declared that "for the networks, social media may be one of the last best ways to bring viewers back together again."

Social Media professionals need to learn these new paths; and hey, it's not because TV industry is back to TV users that we need to be scared. Yeah, haters probably gonna hate that...


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