Wednesday, March 16, 2016

One of the dumbest attempts to hype a TV series in print

The "Entertainment Weekly" issue with the big "Walking Dead" section tried to boost "The 100," a CW show which I refuse to believe is as great as the magazine (and, I will admit, several prominent critics) indicate. I don't mind talking up the stories, the cast, the craft, or things like that, but this is not a blockbuster hit.

Still, in an apparent attempt to impress readers, the "catch up on The 100" piece includes this "proof" of how the show's popularity "skyrocketed":

According to Twitter, the season 3 bow on Jan. 21 (Rick's note: I like how EW is too cool to spell out January. It's not like IT'S limited to 140 characters) racked up roughly 10 times as many tweets as the series premiere and saw #THE100 trend worldwide.

Oh, well, that's that. I gotta get on board this unstoppable juggernaut! God forbid I get left out of the water cooler talk of a show that got its title trending worldwide on Twitter once for some   unspecified amount of time!

Any sentence beginning with "According to Twitter" should be suspect, but at least we could get some kind of actual numbers rather than some sketchy comparative figure. If the first episode generated a dozen tweets, than 120 would be 10 times that. Plus do you know how difficult it is to get something "trending worldwide"?

Well, I don't, either, but I've heard that it's not actually difficult at all. It's especially plausible when you get an event that would bring people interested in the topic together at one, you know, a hyped series premiere.

It sounds like "The 100" is doing quite well by CW standards and is even drawing some modest critical attention. But let's not act like it's--to pick an example totally out of the blue--"The Walking Dead." If I were involved with the production of the series, I'd be overjoyed to get this kind of coverage, but I might be a little embarrassed by the use of Twitter as an important metric. I don't think advertisers are paying rates based on relative tweet totals or times trending worldwide.

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