Why Bloggers?

I was very busy at work, and then busy with the trip to New York, so I was in a bit of a self-focused bubble. But I’m hearing that the bloggers’ trip has created a bit of a kerfuffle around the soaposphere. 

Mainly, why bloggers? (Or, how the hell did HE get to go?) 

These are good questions.

People have been scratching their heads and asking:

Why not the mainstream press, or the mainstream soap press? Why didn’t [insert name of any well-known soap reporter working for a major publication or website here] get invited?

Why bloggers – they’re just fans with a lot of extra time on their hands, right? Just show them the shiny things and they’ll love you!

Jordan Clarke (Billy) wondered about us. “I know what you do is important,” he said, before admitting he wasn’t entirely clear what we do, or what exactly we write about. (Although he did mention that Kim Zimmer is “fearless” online, and jumps head first into online discussions.) 

So, why bloggers?

I may be, as I said in my last post, a fan. But I am also an experienced writer and journalist. And I’ve had many years of experience working backstage in theater, so it’s a familiar milieu to me – the setting, the actors, the egos. Believe me, my bullshit detector was set to Extra Sensitive during my entire visit!

It may seem unobjective for me to say so – after all, I was just a guest of the show’s and a recipient of their generosity. But I think this was a smart move on their part.

Until last week, I wrote articles and blog entries for a major communications/public relations entity. My content was objective and journalistically sound, but it was there as a “value added” way to draw people to the Web site. My ultimate job was to wave the flag for the site, and make people click. 

It’s actually encouraging to me that the show is looking at alternate ways to publicize the show. I noticed last week that the show has a Facebook page. These avenues are not only smart ways to spread the word, but almost required in this environment. Just as I tried to get more people to view my Web site and increase the page views, the show should be using the Internet and social media to increase their “page views” – or clicks in the Nielsen box. 

I think it was also a smart move on their part as a way of bypassing the blockades of traditional press and traditional soap press. There are many hardworking, amazing writers who work on bigger, louder, more comprehensive platforms that this wimpy little WordPress blog of mine. But they are either working for institutions or are institutions in their own right. And over the years, institutions can become inflexible and unresponsive.

It appears unlikely that Soap Opera Digest will ever again in its publication lifetime put a P&G show on its cover. That’s an astounding thought and a sad one. And yes, P&G is often on the subscriber covers and more people see those, blah, blah, blah. But newsstand copies are the public face of the magazine, and a promotional tool as well.

I realize that other shows and other stories have had bigger and louder buzz, but even if I wasn’t an ATWT fan (or a gay man) I would have clearly recognized Luke/Noah as an enormous story for ATWT, and put one or both actors on the cover. That never happened. 

I also think that one of the great things bloggers offer is a balance between official soap press, and anonymous fan commentary. While on this trip, our blogging group talked about anonymity on the Internet. It can be a great thing, but it can also be ugly and counterproductive. Witness the Jossip thread about Carolyn Hinsey this summer. It had valuable content (people sharing actual experiences re: Hinsey) that was soon overwhelmed by incredibly ugly commentary about Hinsey’s appearance. 

I think bloggers have their ear to the ground, and we can hear fan commentary and share it in a very focused way with our readers. I realize that gossip can be fun, and that there’s entertainment value in saying “I can’t believe XYZ wore that hideous dress – doesn’t she have a MIRROR in her house?” But I think there’s a time and a place for that (and a Web site, too). 

I think just as the industry itself evolves and tries to survive, the shows are smart to do what they can to keep our awareness of them alive, as well. One thing that was driven home time and time again during my stint at my “day job” was how flexible and responsive a company must be to be successful.

Though the classic storytelling vehicle for daytime should never go out of style, other parts of its business model will need to change and become more malleable and flexible in order to remain viable.

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3 thoughts on “Why Bloggers?

  1. “Mainly, why bloggers? (Or, how the hell did HE get to go?)”

    LOL, Patrick!

    I haven’t watched the show in awhile–due to story, not the production model. I have sympathy (actually, empathy) with them on that. But I will enthusiastically agree that inviting the bloggers was a savvy and intelligent move. You’re absolutely right–the soap press won’t cover P&G the way they should. And, quite honestly, I’ve kept up with soaps online for years now–it’s not the way of the future, it’s the way of the PRESENT. And I’m glad they’ve recognized that.

    And they didn’t just take Joe Schmoe off the internet, but people who have a longstanding record of intelligent commentary.

    Plus it couldn’t have happened to a better person 🙂 I look forward to your reports!

  2. I think that it was a very progressive move on the part of GL and PGP to invite the Bloggers to spend two days on the set and talking to the actors and producers of the show. What i am seeing, are very insightful, non-gossip chronicles of what it was like. I for one have written GL criticizing their lack of publicity for thise soon to be 72 year old TV icon. When I learned about this move, I was impressed. like it or not, the Internet has become the way to go in many aspects of life, so why not Bloggers! Kudos to you and to GL!

  3. I feel more comfortable using the term alternative media and/or commentator to describe the people who were invited to go instead of the word blogger with the connotation you used in this entry.

    IMO there would have been nothing wrong with GL inviting a group of every day/average viewers to their studio as a “Share the love” kind of event. Like if after the “Find Your Light” campaign, GL invited one person and the guest of their choice to NYC to visit the show on their tab, based upon drawing names with one winner per volunteer location.

    Where is anyone complaining about having this group of people being invited to the program, as I would like to read it.

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