3 thoughts on “Why Every Comedian Should Pay Attention To The New Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings

  1. Andrew Hall says:

    Hey, something else to get anxious about! Awesome.

    Seriously, thanks for posting this. This is the first time I’ve heard of it.

  2. But that’s just it: What a comic does onstage already matters less in our industry than it should. Comics are hired all the time because of credits and jobs that have nothing to do with stand-up comedy.

    Ever see the TV star who decided to become a comedian after becoming a star? How does he perform, typically, compared to the comic who worked his way up from the trenches?

    Twitter and Nielsens working together is great in that, yes, we need to monitor how social media affects TV. Shows with a huge online following SHOULD be monitored by something other than the Nielsen box. Shows with enormous cult clout should probably be noticed by something other than a box on select TVs in select homes.

    But I’m of the old-school belief that you hire a sitcom actor because he’s good on-camera, has great timing, and can carry a part. Not because he markets himself well online. Comics should be great promoters these days. With that I agree. But we already focus on marketability more than raw talent in this biz. Doling out work to the guy who manipulates Twitter to his advantage while ignoring the brilliant performer who does not seems counterproductive to what our job is really supposed to be about. I imagine that Paris Hilton would be better at Twitter than Leonard Cohen. Which one deserves the record deal?

    Marketing and promotion are important. But it’s becoming how we judge the artist BEFORE we’ve seen the art, or even created it. Rather than something we use once it has been created. That kind of thinking is what leads to more reality TV stars.

    And…why SHOULDN’T a comic be looked at for his work onstage first and foremost? Isn’t that, you know, the job description? Would you say that publishers should consider a novelist who is great at Twitter above the one who is—go figure—a better novelist?

    If you hire your TV writers based on Twitter followers, good luck to you. They might be great. But I’d probably be more apt to hire the guy who turned in an excellent spec script than the guy who managed to score tons of Twitter followers and writes snappy snart-ass quotes in 140 characters.

    Of course social media and networking are important. Of course comedians should be doing it. Of course these things are important to building a fan base and maintaining the one you have.

    …But they can also be manipulated. Just like a comic with his feet barely wet can hire a publicist to help get him seen by all the right people, social media popularity can be manufactured and designed to promote someone as something they are not. Frankly, I don’t applaud that line of thinking.

    And, honestly, do we need to give The Powers That Be even less of a reason to leave their offices and actually venture into a comedy club once in a while to see what a live stand-up comic actually looks like?

  3. funny mike says:

    I feel what u saying but I think we have to accept the fact that we are living in different times and things have certainly change. Today is different because first of all the comedy game is over saturated and televison shows come and go because of very low ratings so the networks would rather hire someone who will bring in the ratings to keep the show on the air instead of someone with talent but no social skills to get their fans to watch and boost up the ratings. The NEW formula is like this: TWITTER + NO TALENT= SUCCESS

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