I was going to write an entry mourning today’s decision to axe The OC at the end of season four, which is about to screen in the UK; but on conducting a quick scan on the web to see what others were saying at this (sad) time I discovered something much more entertaining. reading the Guardian blog on the subject I found that the entire conversation had been hijacked by people posting comments re the prevalence of Jews in the US broadcasting industry.
now that’s more than a little off-piste for my little media blog, but it does highlight the extent to which internet discussions are free from the conventions of traditional publishing. in the latter, a subject is extensively (or otherwise) explored and described, opinions given and conclusions made. there is no such rigour on the web…
in the above’s case the discussion veers widely off course to the dismay and despite the pleadings of those wishing to grieve:
"Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a forum for those mourning the passing of the OC. This is not a space for anti-Jewish rants. I wish to dialogue with others who share my depression at the passing of a true phenomenon. Those of you who cannot empathise with those of us who are grieving, there are many other places on the GU blogs where you can express your views".
no chance Tom, the rules don’t apply. as many a brand has learned to their detriment, the internet is not the place for rigorously researched and tested messaging, at least not if you want consumers to own, discuss, and distribute it on your behalf. and quite right too; consumers own internet content – the cut it, change it, re-edit it, and then of course they may distribute it for free on behalf of a marketeer. you can’t have it both ways. as William Gibson so succinctly put it; "The remix is the very nature of the digital."
its worth noting that this flaw is conversely on of the traditional media’s greatest strengths. whilst the Guardian’s blog veers wildly – if entertainingly – off subject, consumers can be confident that the traditional version of the paper will not. and are happy to pay for such. for this amongst other reasons, predictions of the demise of the newspaper are extraordinarily premature and wildly off the mark.
and the same applies for TV. there remains – and will remain for a good while – the need for quality studio-produced broadcast entertainment. as I’ve often said to TV clients when discussing how they negotiate the flood of user-generated content we are increasingly consuming (occasionally but as not as often as is implied to the detriment of broadcast impacts); you’ll never make the OC in your living room. which is a shame really, cos after today’s news that’ll soon be the only place it can be made.