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Why It’s Dangerous for TV Shows to Use Twitter

October 22, 2009

This morning at the gym, I was on the treadmill, watching Mike and Mike in the Morning, ESPN’s early talk show. If you’ve never seen this show, Mike and Mike in the Morning are Mike Golic and Mike Greenburg, two ESPN Radio hosts who, like Don Imus and Howard Stern, leveraged radio success into a tv show. I noticed their ticker tape out of the corner of my eye: “Mike and Mike are now twittering:” Couldn’t remember what their Twitter handle was. I avowed to see what kinds of things Mike & Mike were using Twitter for.

When I got home, I searched “@MikeAndMike”…nothing.

I searched “MikeAndMike” (no “@”)… found a hash tag.

Finally, after a few more valiant efforts, I discovered this: @GreenyAndGolic

@GreenyAndGolic? Seriously? Your show is called Mike & Mike.

Now, it’s not THAT big a deal, but the truth is, I’m not sure they completely understand Twitter. It made me think they created an account because ESPN told them they had to. It made me doubt that they’ll ever even see what I tweet to them and it makes me less likely to follow them (which I didn’t). Search “@GreenAndGolic” and you’ll find @nobody in their stream.

It also got me thinking about other TV shows’ use of this communication vehicle. Some stations, news affiliates, talk shows, and the like have been determined to mold Twitter into something it’s not: a megaphone. I know some people will disagree with me on this, but Twitter should NEVER be used to talk AT people. One’s stream should not consist solely of links from a feed. I use Twitter to communicate. If I want to read news, I’ll go to a news site or channel. I don’t need to read CNN’s Twitter feed, and I certainly don’t need to follow it.

A great example of Twitter use by a TV show is Morning Joe on MSNBC. Believe it or not, Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) tweets with his viewers. He has discussions with them. If you follow his Twitter stream, you’ll see how many viewers he’s engaged this way. 90% of his tweets are @someone. Now you may not agree with Joe’s politics, and you may not be an MSNBC fan, but at least you can appreciate how he’s using Twitter to talk back to his audience instantly. And really, isn’t that the point of it?

Not everyone’s going to use it the exact same way, but part of your strategy should always be two-way communication.

By the way, @MikeAndMike is still available.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. @mackphoto permalink
    October 29, 2009 1:04 am

    Really enjoyed this breakdown–nice article!

    • Esther Steinfeld permalink*
      October 29, 2009 1:19 am

      Thank you Keith, I really appreciate that!

  2. November 1, 2009 7:59 am

    Yea, Morning Joe! Your article is right on. I’ve sent him messages a few times and have heard back most times. I doubt I could have reached him any other way than Twitter….especially so quickly. Joe gets it.

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