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How Big Brother 14 screwed up their social media campaign

Big Brother season 14 has been a dramatic season so far, but today, we’re focused on how they’re trying to connect with their audience, but instead are rubbing it in that my brother is dead.

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Big Brother 14

Big Brother 14

This season on Big Brother

Big Brother is a popular reality television show where a group of people live together in a house filled with cameras, isolated from the outside world, continuously filmed through their entire visit, and each week, the cast competes for prizes, and players are voted off as they all race to be the single player left standing to win $500,000.

Let’s be frank, the show is amazing. To be completely biased, I believe it is the only thing good about summer television, and I love it so much that we pay for Showtime channels just so we can see the “After Dark” live feed at night. In other words, I’m a fanatic, so let that color the following opinions as you will.

Adding a social stream

This year, the show added “Big Brother Connect,” which aggregates live social streams which is supposed to enrich viewers’ experiences by adding a community of other Big Brother fans, and allowing fans to see their tweets live during Thursday night broadcasts. Genius. Interactivity at its finest.

The idea is great, but the execution is terrible. The design works, the aesthetics are fine, the function is great, the page loads quickly, and everything is in order, but there is something peculiar about the tweets being featured.

Take a look at a screenshot from the day of the premier, and the next from this morning, and tell me what is odd to you:

Big Brother stream

#bb14

The show has been hailed for embracing social media, but wait, what’s that? Did you read those tweets closely? In the first screenshot, the first two tweets are about deceased siblings, and the third was a sibling asking you to follow his brother on Twitter. Another random screenshot, the second, highlights sibling violence, then some horribly spelled sentiment about someone feeling like a brother, a pregnancy announcement, then something about big brother watching you which does not appear to be related to the reality series.

What do these tweets all have in common?

What do these seven tweets have in common that have been aggregated automatically as part of the “Big Brother Connect” campaign to show how the show has their arms wrapped around social media like a sexy, warm hug? What they all have in common is that they have absolutely nothing to do with the actual show, yet next to host Julie Chen’s face, it says clearly that this is the “conversation around Big Brother.” Nope.

Social stream aggregation is not new, it’s been around for years, so with a company with a budget of this size, it is shocking that CBS would screw up their social campaign so badly, and inadvertently highlight tweets about dead siblings or pushing siblings down the stairs. I know you’re looking more closely now, saying, “wait, just click around,” and you’re right – if someone were to look much more closely (rather than skim, which social media users are wont to do), they would see that this stream is the “All” stream, which has aggregated any mention of “big brother” as a term, whereas next to it, users could click on “#BB14,” “bbtwist,” and the like:

big brother season 14

How the campaign could improve instantly

The show needs to move the “All” button as the last option on the bar above, and when the page opens, it should default to “#BB14.” These aggregated streams are simply done by searching Twitter for a designated term, then displaying all tweets with that term, so “#BB14,” the official hashtag of the show, which is featured on the screen during the series, is a much more clear term that will nearly guarantee that when someone opens Big Brother Connect, they will see big brother related content, rather than defaulting to tweets about dead or injured brothers.

Businesses that try to highlight overarching information are usually one of two things – ignorant, or taking an educated risk by trying to get as many tweets as possible featured so people will feel included, and possibly talk about how included they are, thus branding the aggregated stream and community. In your own aggregation efforts, remember the implications of the potential search terms you include.

I lost my little brother and only sibling to a car crash, and I can’t tell you how it pains me to open the Big Brother Connect page, get excited to see something about my favorite show, and have that “oh” moment when I see a tweet about a dead brother. That can’t possibly be what CBS was going for.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. tinainvirginia

    July 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Lani – that just stinks!  I’m so sorry about your brother and even more sorry that this ignorant mistake messed up your day.

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Social Media

Twitter to start charging users? Here’s what you need to know

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social media is trending toward the subscription based model, especially as the pandemic pushes ad revenue down. What does this mean for Twitter users?

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Twitter and other social media apps open on a phone being held in a hand. Will they go to a paid option subscription model?

In an attempt to become less dependent on advertising, Twitter Inc. announced that it will be considering developing a subscription product, as well as other paid options. Here’s the scoop:

  • The ideas for paid Twitter that are being tossed around include tipping creators, the ability to pay users you follow for exclusive content, charging for use of the TweetDeck, features like “undo send”, and profile customization options and more.
  • While Twitter has thought about moving towards paid for years, the pandemic has pushed them to do it – plus activist investors want to see accelerated growth.
  • The majority of Twitter’s revenue comes from targeted ads, though Twitter’s ad market is significantly smaller than Facebook and other competitors.
  • The platform’s user base in the U.S. is its most valuable market, and that market is plateauing – essentially, Twitter can’t depend on new American users joining to make money anymore.
  • The company tried user “tips” in the past with its live video service Periscope (RIP), which has now become a popular business model for other companies – and which we will most likely see again with paid Twitter.
  • And yes, they will ALWAYS take a cut of any money being poured into the app, no matter who it’s intended for.

This announcement comes at a time where other social media platforms, such as TikTok and Clubhouse, are also moving towards paid options.

My hot take: Is it important – especially during a pandemic – to make sure that creators are receiving fair compensation for the content that we as users consume? Yes, 100%. Pay people for their work. And in the realm of social media, pictures, memes, and opinions are in fact work. Don’t get it twisted.

Does this shift also symbolize a deviation from the unpaid, egalitarian social media that we’ve all learned to use, consume, and love over the last decade? It sure does.

My irritation stems not from the fact that creators will probably see more return on their work in the future. Or on the principal of free social media for all. It stems from sheer greediness of the social media giants. Facebook, Twitter, and their counterparts are already filthy rich. Like, dumb rich. And guess what: Even though Twitter has been free so far, it’s creators and users alike that have been generating wealth for the company.

So why do they want even more now?

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Social Media

TikTok enters the e-commerce space, ready to compete with Zuckerberg?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Setting up social media for e-commerce isn’t an uncommon practice, but for TikTok this means the next step competing with Facebook and Instagram.

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Couple taking video with mobile phone, prepared for e-commerce.

Adding e-commerce offerings to social media platforms isn’t anything new. However, TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese firm ByteDance, is rolling out some new e-commerce features that will place the social video app in direct competition with Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and Instagram.

According to a Financial Times report, TikTok’s new features will allow the platform to create and expand its e-commerce service in the U.S. The new features will allow TikTok’s popular users to monetize their content. These users will be able to promote and sell products by sharing product links in their content. In return, TikTok will profit from the sales by earning a commission.

Among the features included is “live-streamed” shopping. In this mobile phone shopping channel, users can purchase products by tapping on products during a user’s live demo. Also, TikTok plans on releasing a feature that will allow brands to display their product catalogs.

Currently, Facebook has expanded into the e-commerce space through its Facebook Marketplace. In May 2020, it launched Facebook Shops that allows businesses to turn their Facebook and Instagram stories into online stores.

But, Facebook hasn’t had too much luck in keeping up with the video platform in other areas. In 2018, the social media giant launched Lasso, its short-form video app. But the company’s TikTok clone didn’t last too long. Last year, Facebook said bye-bye to Lasso and shut it down.

Instagram is trying to compete with TikTok by launching Instagram Reels. This feature allows users to share short videos just like TikTok, but the future of Reels isn’t set in stone yet. By the looks of it, videos on Reels are mainly reposts of video content posted on TikTok.

There is no word on when the features will roll out to influencers on TikTok, but according to the Financial Times report, the social media app’s new features have already been viewed by some people.

TikTok has a large audience that continues to grow. By providing monetization tools in its platform, TikTok believes its new tools will put it ahead of Facebook in the e-commerce game, and help maintain that audience.

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Social Media

Your favorite Clubhouse creators can now ask for your financial support

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Clubhouse just secured new funding – what it means for creators and users of the latest quarantine-based social media darling.

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Woman talking on Clubhouse on her iPhone with a big smile.

Clubhouse – the live-voice chat app that has been taking the quarantined world by storm – has recently announced that it has raised new funding in a Series B round, led by Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital firm in Silicon Valley.

The app confirms that new funding means compensation for creators; much like the influencers on TikTok and YouTube, now Clubhouse creators will be able to utilize features such as subscriptions, tipping, and ticket sales to monetize their content.

To encourage emerging Clubhouse creators and invite new voices, funding round will also support a promising “Creator Grant Program”.

On the surface, Clubhouse is undoubtedly cool. The invite-only, celebrity-filled niche chatrooms feel utopic for any opinionated individual – or anyone that just likes to listen. At its best, Clubhouse brings to mind collaborative campfire chats, heated lecture-hall debates or informative PD sessions. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m actually obsessed.

And now with its new round, the video chatroom app will not only appear cool but also act as a helpful steppingstone to popular and emerging creators alike. “Creators are the lifeblood of Clubhouse,” said Paul & Rohan, the app’s creators, “and we want to make sure that all of the amazing people who host conversations for others are getting recognized for their contributions.”

Helping creators get paid for their labor in 2021 is a cause that we should 100% get behind, especially if we’re consuming their content.

Over the next few months, Clubhouse will be prototyping their tipping, tickets and subscriptions – think a system akin to Patreon, but built directly into the app.

A feature unique to the app – tickets – will offer individuals and organizations the chance to hold formal discussions and events while charging an admission. Elite Clubhouse rooms? I wonder if I can get a Clubhouse press pass.

Additionally, Clubhouse has announced plans for Android development (the app has only been available to Apple users so far). They are also working on moderation policies after a recent controversial chat sparked uproar. To date, the app has been relying heavily on community moderation, the power of which I’ve witnessed countless times whilst in rooms.

So: Is the golden age of Clubhouse – only possible for a short period while everyone was stuck at home and before the app gained real mainstream traction – now over? Or will this new round of funding and subsequent development give the app a new beginning?

For now, I think it’s safe to say that the culture of Clubhouse will certainly be changing – what we don’t know is if the changes will make this cream-of-the-crop app even better, or if it’ll join the ranks of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook in being another big-time social media staple.

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