NBC Insists Twitter Is Useless Because Not Enough People Tweeted During The Olympics… Which NBC Made Difficult To Watch Online
from the maybe-rethink-your-position dept
People are jumping on a story in the Financial Times, in which NBC Universal’s research chief, Alan Wurtzel totally trashes Twitter for not being particularly important to television viewing. The basic claim about the relationship between Twitter and television may, in fact, be true, but the reasoning that Wurtzel presents for his conclusions makes no sense at all. In fact, it raises questions about what kind of “research” NBC Universal actually does.
NBCU had expected social media to have a dominating effect on viewership for the Games. However, during the 18-day period of coverage, just 19 per cent of Olympic viewers posted about the games on social media, the broadcaster found.
Frankly, that seems somewhat high to me. Part of the issue is that Wurtzel seems to think that everyone watching the Olympics and using social media would or should then express that fact to the public. That’s bizarre. Plenty of people use social media not to speak out directly, but to pay attention to what their friends and family are doing. This is the same sort of debate that internet-native folks have had for years about participants in online communities vs “lurkers.” But lurkers have tremendous value as well, even if they don’t participate. Frankly, a 19% participation rate in an online community is massive. It’s amazing that NBC Universal seems to think this is a bad thing.
“I am saying the emperor wears no clothes. It is what it is. These are the numbers.”
There are three totally empty statements there, none of which have anything to say.
But, you know, something else that might have had a big impact on this? The fact that NBC Universal has a very long history of making it extraordinarily difficult to actually watch the Olympics that people want to see online (you know, at the time when they’re most likely to be connected to social media). Combined with its continued demented decision to make it nearly impossible to watch any of the hot events live and you’ve basically wiped out many of the big reasons why people might be on social media talking about things. The whole thing was constructed around a typical TV “broadcast” mentality. Is it any wonder that it didn’t really resonate with people on social media?