I’ve been working in TV5 for almost two years now and this has given me a deeper appreciation for the relationship of TV and Digital, especially social media. If there’s one conclusion I can draw it’s that TV and Digital are connected at the hip. They are inseparable and as internet becomes more pervasive it doesn’t actually eat into the audience of TV but rather enhances the entire content consumption experience by adding interactivity.
Symbiotic relationship of TV and Digital
If there’s any profession that’s at par or even more connected to social media than digital marketers and social media managers, it’s journalism. Newsrooms have social media desks now whose sole responsibility is to gather news from social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. They also follow influencers like celebrities, government agencies, and politicians. A tweet from one of these individuals or organizations is almost as good as a press release! Other than the social media desks, almost all reporters and news personalities are on social media as well.
This unbreakable connection between News and Social Media completely shifts how Public Relations is done. It’s a push and pull relationship. News drives conversations on social media (TV as the catalyst, then audience responds via Twitter/FB/Blogs) and at the same time News culls what they can from social media and they feature it as content on their programs which air on TV. The amplification that happens is two-way. Each platform expands the audience of each other making it a symbiotic relationship between the two.
A Case Study: “Sotto Plagiarism”
To illustrate how this relationship works let’s take a look at how social media reacted to Senator Sotto when the plagiarism issue exploded. We plotted out how many times “Sotto Plagiarism” was mentioned on Twitter on a daily basis below.
As it is you can already draw so many conclusions. It becomes much more interesting though if you plot out the key events that happened that drove the conversations. See below.
Here’s how it happened in the context of the relationship of TV and Digital:
- Senator Sotto delivers his speech on August 12 but conversations only took place on August 15 when the Filipino Freethinkers’ blog entry surfaced and picked up by the social media accounts of TV, Print, and Radio news teams (after vetting).
- Conversations reach an all time high when Senator Sotto, during an interview with one of the most influential social media journalists Karen Davila, mentioned the killer phrase “Blogger lang yun”. It was obviously taken out of context by a lot of people but that’s irrelevant since the nature of social media is one that you cannot control.
- Conversations keep going and when the chief-of-staff of Senator Sotto goes on media rounds and drops controversial replies, especially this one: “Copying is common practice in the Senate.”
- Conversations spike again when Senator Sotto retaliates against his critics in his speech on TV.
Throughout this timeline traditional media was informing the public using their mediums, expanding the reach of social media. At the same time TV drove the content and the conversation happening on social media.
Listening and Analytics is CRITICAL for 2013 Campaign
More than social media presence, a critical piece of digital strategy for the 2013 campaign is how politicians will do listening, monitoring, and analytics. Without a scientific and strategic approach to how they will listen, they will not be able to nip problems at the bud and these “small issues” can suddenly blow up in their faces when traditional media picks it up, features it, and gives the issue a nationwide audience.
Listening and analytics will trump black operations. If you have solid monitoring you can find out plotted fake issues and address them quickly. When Senator Pia Cayetano was blamed for plagiarism as well all she needed to do to quash it and kill the issue was tweet a reply.
How can you censor reactions?
Here’s the thing that a lot of politicians don’t understand: you cannot control the internet, especially social media. The medium itself is all about conversations and reactions. It’s about commentary and opinon. That brings me to my last point. The Libel clause in the Cybercrime Act is a dated and irrelevant 80-year old law. It cannot simply be expanded to digital because it is second nature for people to react to current events and news items on Facebook and Twitter.
We can probably create a specific law for Cyber Bullying and Online Defamation but to simply “copy-paste” the Libel clause in the Cybercrime Act goes against the very spirit of the law (which was meant to curb Cybersex, child pornography, hacking, etc.) and the nature of social media.
As long as there is TV, Radio, and Print, there will be conversations about contentious issues and topics on social media. It’s the public’s way to react and respond. It’s their way of saying if a certain politician is doing a good job or not. Yes, sometimes some people go overboard and maybe those extreme cases are the ones that should be included in the revised defamation clause but anything less than that infringes on our fundamental right to express ourselves.