Jimmy Fallon makes jokes about Facebook updates, CNN’s Rick Sanchez reads your tweets, Tosh 1.0 curates stupid video memes, and everyone else is mostly making fun of Twitter. I don’t know about you, but every time I see this on TV I cringe and feel awkward.
The web is finally mainstream. Or is it?
TV networks are scrambling. They know that they’re loosing viewers to the web. Particularly the younger viewer. The 18 to 34 crowd. So they’re looking for ways to get them back to watching Television. But the TV industry’s days are counted and this attempt to merge with digital culture is failing. We get it. You’re internet savvy and are catching up with the times. But are you really?
Part of the problem is that the people that watch television mostly watch television and people that use the web mostly use the web. It’s a simple conclusion, but that’s the reality. Instead of focusing on bringing back lost viewers, they should focus on keeping the ones they still have. But doing Twitter and Facebook jokes is not the best way. The jokes are not transferring because while the majority of viewers are familiar with these web services, it sounds more like an inside joke.
I’m giving the news networks like CNN the benefit of the doubt however, but I dare you to watch Rick Sanchez without a laptop on your lap. Seriously. Try it.
So yes, the web may be mainstream and the new medium of entertainment, but it’s still and would probably always be (I hope) a utilitarian medium. TV networks strategy of embracing the web is coming from the premise that the web is something people consume. But the web is still very much something that people use. Maybe one day it will all merge together or the industry will die, but right now they’re not focusing exactly on the best the web has to offer.