NBC Universal and Facebook recently announced the two are collaborating during this year’s Summer Olympics. The gist: data from Facebook will inform/influence coverage on NBC; the NBC Facebook page will feature “exclusive” content for fans only; and here’s the kicker—Facebook will be data-crunching user conversations related to the Olympics. Let’s just say that Facebook’s “elves” in London will be turning data and your Facebook conversations over to NBC who will then turn them into stories.
This isn’t anything new—morning shows like TODAY and Good Morning America often feature “viral” videos and posts from Facebook. Remember when that dad punished his daughter by videotaping himself shooting her laptop and then posting it online? He was interviewed at least twice on TODAY, all for a Facebook post that outraged (or excited) parents across the country.
I actually enjoy posting Facebook updates that relate to television—my favorite being snarky rants about The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. Why? Because it’s not life changing or political views that will anger (or annoy) half my friends. And because it generates fun conversation with friends both old and new via Facebook. A handful of us are all watching the show (usually) at the same time and can throw a “viewing party” of sorts, without having to leave the couch.
As NBC and Facebook partner up for the Olympics, I wonder if it will inspire more people to use social media while watching television. Will those Facebook friends of yours who hardly ever post a status update now be posting their predictions of Olympic wins? Or share their viewing parties and photos of reactions when Lochte wins gold? Will NBC news programs be flooded with “feel good” stories they congregated from Facebook the night before? Or will the thought of our social media posts being analyzed by “big brother” push some of us to other social platforms not being invaded by networks?
It will be interesting to see what comes of this experiment in the coming weeks. Who knows, you (and your Facebook friends) might make the headlines right along with the gold medal winners.