Lots of people like to comment and complain about the media coverage. Be it that they are unhappy about a TV presenter’s beard or that they are not happy about the panel of a Question Time programme.
The audience is key in media, they are the reason journalism is created. All TV, radio and online content is catered to specific audiences and demographics. This is so strong that some companies go to great lengths to create a fictional character that embodies the kind of person they are trying to make content for. They often even give the character a name. For example ITV Daybreak’s person might be called Sheila. She has 3 children, has a part-time job in an office and is a stay at home mum the rest of the week. At meetings it wouldn’t be totally bizzare to refer to Sheila by saying “now remember Sheila I don’t know if she’d like to see someone having their arm amputated at 9 in the morning.”
Well you get the picture! Audiences are crucial in media, so it has always been open and receptive to comments about their shows. Traditionally this was done through the good old Royal Mail. Your letter would get through to a person in for example the BBC Points of View office who would, if you were lucky, broadcast your views on the PoV show. These days most people don’t send letters, but they do send lots of angry emails and tweets over the internet at just the click of a button!
The fact that people can tweet or use other forms of social media including Youtube to ‘rant’ about media coverage as it happens could be detrimental to a network’s ratings. If twitter is ‘trending’ for example #bbcqt (BBC Question Time), and all of the tweets are negative, surely it would be a good idea for the network to try and improve people’s perceptions of the show.
Some businesses like Dell have managed to harness the art of complaining into an online experience which transforms as they put it ‘Ranters to Ravers‘. I.e. people who hate the service to people who rave about it! I think that this form of user generated content is something that journalism and media outlets could learn a lot from.
They connect with their customers online, helping them with problems and listening to their views. Unlike many outlets which people contact and never receive any reply. They try to find solutions to their problems and change people’s perceptions of the company by improving their experience of the product.
Here Dell’s Stephen Jio talks about the project:
If people knew that their views were being dealt with in real time, they would perhaps be more willing to keep listening or watching a show. It would be equally useful for the media to listen to their audience and interact with it as they would know what they like and what they don’t. They could therefore cater to their audience’s every wish and who knows they might see their ratings shoot up…
What do you think?
Is it enough that BBC Question Time only has these ways of contacting them ? Or is it time for them to bring feedback and complaining into the social networking century?
This is a good article about how companies are profiting from customer interaction over social media.
By Kirsty Malcolm @kirstymalcolm