Wednesday, March 2, 2011


By: Kristen Paquet, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.
I realize that I wrote about the Oscars around this time last year and I was going to pick another topic for this week’s post. But then I went on Twitter and checked out #oscarsfail and instantly changed my mind.

Like many people out there, I watched the Oscars and agreed with most of the Twitter comments - it was a big yawn. Hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco were just bad and there weren’t any big award upsets. The show was very predictable which also made it very boring. But then I came upon a tweet under #oscarsfail that said:

“In the future, live show producers should have contingency plans to make on-the-fly changes when social media chatter shows trainwrecks.”

That got me thinking – would a show – the most important, revered and glorified show in the entire movie industry, one that is watched in 200 countries around the world, really adapt itself based on Tweets from folks like you and me during the actual show? Talk about powerful.

Case in point: It seems like Hathaway and Franco didn’t stand a chance after the first five minutes into the show. The Tweets started rolling in – and they weren’t nice. In fact, the only real positive comments came when Billy Crystal made a guest appearance and received a standing ovation. So implementing the theory of changing the show based on Twitter comments, at that point, Hathaway and Franco should have been out and Crystal should have taken over.

Granted, that is a bit of an extreme example, but how far off the mark is the concept? Social media continues to be a powerful tool. We use it to promote ourselves, a product (or pan one), connect with friends and make new ones, and share our views on the world. It is social after all. To say that Twitter could one day have some direct input over the direction of a live show, Oscars or otherwise, doesn’t seem to be that far of a stretch.

And if you still don’t think that Twitter has the influence, you might want to consider this: The Oscars have been hyped for months and probably took even longer to put together, the cost being in the millions. But it only took about five minutes before the entire show was totally tanked by thousands on Twitter. Mostly by people like me who fancy themselves a critic. But as one real critic posted:

“The worst Oscar cast I’ve seen, and I go back awhile. Some great winners, a nice distribution of awards, but the show? Dead. In. The. Water.” ~ Roger Ebert.


So does Twitter (or any other social media network) have the influence to drive something like a live television program? Or should user comments be left just as they are?


Beth said...

Because social media is still a pretty new concept, I don't think it has the power to drive a live TV program quite yet. But, do I think it will some day, absolutely! Especially something as big of a deal as the Oscars!

kr said...

I agree with Beth. I don't think it's there yet but I think it will be soon. It will be interesting to see what network or event dares to be the first that is completely driven by the crowds' comments on social media. I know I would want to tune in.