TV Heaven and Hell (from a blood sucking social media guru)

I watched the Trip on BBC2 last night.  I laughed, I had a little think, I may have even drooled a bit over the Hipping Hall seven course tasting menu that formed the backdrop for Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s inspired back and forth comedy master class. Personally, I don’t think there is anything to compare to it on British television at the moment and in terms of international competition only HBO, with its outstanding output, can eclipse it. It’s wry, engaging and knowing, but at the same time touching and never afraid to be cruel or outrageous. The writing provides quiet contemplative pauses that add to the tension and the comedy, but in no way feel forced.

This is in stark contrast to the reality TV phenomenon, typified by the audioshite that is X Factor and the celebopreening that is I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here. Here pauses are forced to stir fans up into even greater pre result frenzy and to provide more time for people to ring in and ‘vote.’ Now this short blog post isn’t going to be a rabid diatribe on the rise and rise of reality TV. What would be the point; it’s been written before and wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference.

But, what relevance has this for a social media agency and its clients? Why am I qualified to even offer an opinion? I thought it behoved me to analyse the way that the public were feeding back on the differing TV institutions utilising some of the free analytics tools out there. After all my profession and I were referred to as ‘blood sucking social media gurus’ by a certain Telegraph journalist this morning, maybe I can give something back.

In terms of the sheer number of Twitter conversations, #xfactor has dwarfed #imaceleb and #thetrip no great surprise there (according to Google this month there have been 1,110,000 #xfactor tweets, 361,000 for #imaceleb and just 50,400 for #thetrip.)

My faith in humanity is somewhat restored when it comes to sentiment for the 3 shows. According to the guys at Tweetfeel the Trip’s Twitter conversations are nigh on 100% positive (startling when you consider the strong language in the episode aired last night and the normally vocal nature of the BBC’s critics.) Meanwhile the reality shows’ ‘fans’ seem to be divided into lovers and haters. Is reality TV a marmite thing? Tweetfeel pumped out results of 54% negativity in tweets for #imaceleb and an impressive 69% negativity for #xfactor. Are the trolls circling reality TV, the contestants, organisers or is it just the very nature of the format that it generates the hate?

Anyway, I can but urge you to watch the Trip, in fact sack off the rest of the working day and watch all four episodes again and again and again:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00w78p8/The_Trip_Hipping_Hall/

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