NBC Taps Facebook (not Hulu) for Community Premiere

Community_2NBC posted an early look at the pilot of its upcoming show Community online, but you won’t find it on the network’s site, or even the NBC-owned Hulu. If you want a sneak peek at the new sitcom, you have to become a fan of it on Facebook.

The networks are bound to try out a lot of different promotions to boost audience numbers (and get those upfront ad dollars back up), but this is worth mentioning for a couple of reasons. First, as noted, NBC isn’t driving traffic to NBC.com or Hulu with this offer. Last year, Hulu’s relationships with its network parents made it the go-to place for first looks of the fall season. That could still happen again this year (with the addition of ABC content) as the fall season premieres get closer, but Facebook is first out of the gate.

The move also further validates Facebook as a burgeoning video powerhouse. To our knowledge, this is the first network programming premiere that the social network has hosted. Facebook is already exerting itself as a personal video sharing platform — extending that influence into premium content should have the folks at Hulu HQ concerned. Sure Hulu has Facebook Connect, but that’s still one step removed from putting the show right where people are already interacting and sharing what they like. Additionally, with Facebook, as opposed to other sites, the fan additions, comments and reviews are from real people — not anonymous rabble-rousers looking to post “U R Stooopid” a hundred times.

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Goodbye Angry Mob, Hello “Death Panels”

sarah-palin-AlaskaIt seems as though, every week, the Republicans find new ways to alienate normal people. First, there were the Birthers in Congress, amplified by much-publicized coverage of the conspiracy theory from Lou Dobbs. Then, there was the so-called “Angry Mob,” a noisy confluence of birth certificates, tea bags, and healthcare town hall meetings.

Then, just as conservatives were getting some traction by leveraging Democratic criticism into a “stifling of dissent” argument, Sarah Palin comes along to complete the hat trick.

On Friday, the former Alaska Governor posted some grade-A crazy talk on her Facebook page:

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

Well, the echoes of the accompanying cuckoo-clock noises had barely died down when Newt Gingrich rushed in to agree with Palin that Death Panels were, indeed, cause for concern:

While the White House’s Deal or No Deal with PhRMA may be the big political story so far, expect many a cable news panel to discuss the Death Panel, and many a Republican guest to hop on the Death Panel bandwagon. If you need an excuse to get drunk this week, play the Death Panel drinking game, then hope the Death Panel has mercy on you.

This sets a high bar for next week, and I’m not sure they can top this. Maybe Palin will announce her Presidential bid, then pull out of the race the next day.

What Are the Kids Up To These Days? Apparently Not Social Networking

ferris-bueller-cast11As if the deaths of Michael Jackson and John Hughes weren’t enough to make you feel old, yet another study has been released saying that social media is quickly becoming a golden oldie. This from Fast Company:

Basically as the oldies are moving in, the youth is moving out. And, frankly, that should be no surprise. It’s pretty standard teenage/young person behavior to prefer to occupy social niches that are different to those the old folks use–cue the image of the standard rebellious teenager donning the oh-so-unique black T-shirt of the noisiest band of the day. This is borne out by the remaining statistic from the research–kids under 16, presumably still in the early stages of rebellion, social networking is still as popular as ever… Analyzing data from 250,000 internet users in the U.S., Nielsen found that 25% of users were under 25. But only 16% of Twitter users were in that age group.

Actually what that tells us is that kids stop social networking during their highschool and early college before picking it back up again. Meaning that Twitter is not losing relevance but has merely gone mainstream. And while this makes it as difficult as ever for the cannibalizing advertisers to figure out what the kids are thinking these days, it also makes perfect sense. Whose teenage years aren’t almost entirely devoted to keeping the powers-that-be from knowing what you are up to? Perhaps the kids have all gone old school and are using the phone to communicate.

Verizon FiOS’ Tweet TV — Not So Sweet

Being a FiOS subscriber, I was excited a week back when I’d heard the telco TV provider’s widget bazaar featuring Facebook and Twitter for the TV had gone live. As an analyst covering the migration of social media from the web to the mobile screen, I’ve long felt that the next destination for the Twitter train would be TV.

First impressions? The FiOS Facebook widget worked for me largely due to the ability to view friends’ photos, while the Twitter widget was hardly more than a public stream of tweets around TV shows.

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With the Facebook widget and photo viewing, I was happy with the overall image quality. I was able to view pictures of friends and family easily, and had the option to view each image full-screen. While slightly pixelated, full screen images looked decent on my 42″ plasma.

The Twitter widget didn’t impress. While the user can search tweets and look at tweets about the current show, they can’t load their own Twitter page or actually tweet. I don’t know about you, but looking at public tweet streams about shows isn’t my idea of a good time.  My feeling is a Twitter widget for TV should allow you to load up your own Twitter ID and tweet from the widget itself, and even possibly exchange tweets with others watching the same show.

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While FiOS’s first run at social media widgets is a mixed bag, I do commend them on their efforts. In my recent weekly update on GigaOM Pro (subscription required), I talk about how the migration of social web to the TV is inevitable, even as today’s early implementations such as those from FiOS are rudimentary in nature. I also explain how the social TV will succeed by optimizing the experience around three basic feature sets: sharing and discussion, recommendation and visual communication.

The FiOS widget for Facebook hits on one of these feature sets pretty well through photo sharing, but the Twitter widget basically misses the mark on all three.

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