We want Viewers

In the every changing world of media the media providers are constantly trying to figure out how to get more viewers. It’s the way the industry works. With the digital age of media changing the traditional way that people consumed news many people in the industry are finding new ways to monitor and anaylze their viewers. In Ch. 11 of Briggs’ book he explains the need to build a digital audience. When I think about the way content becomes viral or how a certain website becomes insanely popular I often wonder how did it happen. Sometimes it’s organic like Facebook and other times it’s word of mouth like Vine, but in the end it’s about directing people to the content.

One thing I have noticed recently online on sites like Facebook are the increasingly annoying ads that companies post on your timeline. If you really pay attention to them it’s almost like their tracking you. For example if you go to Applebee’s and the waiter asks you to go online and take a survey usually somewhere during the process they will ask for your email address. Like magic in a day or two you will start to notice Applebee’s posting on your Facebook timeline. This is the analyzing process in the new age of media and content providers are doing the same thing. I mean they’ve been doing it since the beginning with the rating system, but with digital journalism the tracking of the audience is bit more sophisticated.

In the chapter Briggs talks about software such as Google Analytics, which keeps track of traffic that comes to your website. In media it’s useful because you can gauge what content your audience tends to like the most. This can lead to a rearrangement in presenting stories. If the audience tend to watch issues concerning local crimes a news station can adjust their media content to meet that demand. With the use of SEO and SEM (the latter of which I despise) media companies can target their consumers directly. I see it all the time on Facebook with channel 2. Even though I’m not friends with WSB-TV they seem to constantly be on my timeline. Honestly it can be a bit intrusive because the whole idea of social media is to create dialog amongst your peers. With corporation squeezing their way into our social space it starts to defeat the purpose of the platform, which is to communicate without interference.

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I understand that media companies are trying to adjust to this new and foreign platform. I just wish they wouldn’t be so intrusive. It’s the equivalent of having a conversation with a close friend and all of the sudden an outsider injects themselves into you discussion.

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