Social media is all the rave. Everybody’s doing it. Everybody’s talking about it. But what are people talking about on social networking sites? It’s ironic how much of what’s discussed is traditional media. In fact, television still rules. So much of what’s posted on social media sites has to do with what’s happening on television. Interesting isn’t it?
How much social media space is consumed discussing whom the finalists will be on American Idol? How many posts were there about which girl should be chosen by the Bachelor? Or what about Betty White being a huge topic on Twitter the week after her appearance on Saturday Night Live? What about Justin Bieber being number one on Twitter after appearing on Oprah? Much political conversation on networking sites springs from what Glenn Beck or Chris Mathews espouses the night before.
In discussing this same issue in an article in Ad Age, Simon Dumenco stated that despite the supposed seismic shift away from broadcast to web video, the reality is that just 2% of TV viewing happens online. In fact, television consumption has actually risen as social media has exploded. Nielsen has tracked an all time high of 151–plus hours of monthly TV watching in the average American household while spending just 27 hours on the internet.
Even though the use of social is on a sharp incline, it has not dented our passion for TV. Television is the original social medium. We watch TV for enjoyment but also because we want to experience what other people are experiencing and talking about. We want to be “in the know” and be culturally relevant. And we watch television to make sure we are.
As Dumenco concluded, “there’s something deeply, beautifully human about people using newfangled social media to share their awe about great moments on good old-fashioned TV.”