Before social media, people watched the TV shows they liked. If you tuned-in and didn’t find it amusing seeing Hillbillies in Beverly Hills, you changed the channel. If you didn’t like watching a soap opera with pretty people in a hospital E.R., you didn’t watch it.
But today, there is the phenomenon of hate-watching–– willfully viewing something you don’t like just so you can bitch about it and be snarky in social media. What’s up with this?
I confess, I’ve engaged in this practice. I hate-watched my way through the second half of the second season of True Detective, then posted my sly criticisms on the Facebook playground where other hate-watchers joined the feeding frenzy. We chased this show like it was our white whale, throwing harpoons and riding it to the horizon until it died.
What did this say about us? Nothing good.
It said we were cultural bullies, trying to win favor with others with our clever, snide barbs.
What does it tell marketers about doing business in the social media age? It says now everyone has a voice and a megaphone to broadcast it, and you better be prepared to take on all opinions–– even those of the comic book store guy in the weeds.
It’s not pretty. And the worst thing you can do is try and control the conversation. People are going to say what they’re going to say.
Oh, and going back to TV viewing habits, some of us were amused by Jethro Bodine with his rope belt and impressive fifth grade education who knew his guzintas. “One guzinta two, two times. Two guzinta four, two times…”