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Hey Brian Williams, what’s your Facebook address?

Sure, it's great that TV shows are on Facebook and Twitter and Google+. Now if we could only find them.

Brian Williams

Imagine you have an massive toothache.

The pain is so bad it’s almost supernatural. You don’t want to eat, you don’t want to talk, and the ache is the kind that shoots up your face and gives you a day-long headache. All you can think about is getting to your dentist and having him clean it or fill it or extract it; whatever needs to be done to stop it from hurting so much.

And then you remember what the secretary said on your last visit: your dentist was going to be out of town this week.

So you go to your phone book to look up the number of another local dentist. This is an emergency after all, and even if you’re not already a patient of theirs, they’ll see you. You go to the “dentist” section and look at the list of people in your area and — eureka! — you find one, and he’s really close too. So you make a plan to call him ASAP and get this tooth taken care of.

There’s only one problem: there’s no phone number at all.

That’s what I think of every single time I see the Facebook and Twitter icons at the end of TV shows. I was watching The NBC Nightly News a while back — not just because I like Brian Williams, but because I get tired of the inane things Diane Sawyer says at the end of stories over on ABC (someone please start a Tumblr!) — and at the end of the credits they show a row of various social media icons: Facebook, Twitter, iTunes, etc. But that’s all they show. No address for the Facebook page; no address for the Twitter page; no account name for the show on iTunes. Nothing.

It’s like going to a phone book for a number and just seeing this:


Yeah, it’s great to know that the company has a phone, but wouldn’t it be great if they actually gave the number too?

I know what you’re thinking: “But Bob, people can just go to Facebook or Twitter and do a search for the show.” Yes, and people can just call 411 to get a phone number, or maybe just pick up the phone and start dialing phone numbers randomly. You’re bound to find it eventually!

Most of us don’t live in a town like Mayberry where we can just pick up our phone and say “Sarah? Get me the doc on the phone. Thank you kindly!” And we don’t live in a world where we can just guess what a URL is or do a search.

These shows want us to know that they’re on Facebook and Twitter. They want us to go to those sites and friend them and subscribe to them and follow them and poke them and put something on their walls and tweet about them and enter their contests and everything else, so why don’t they just put the damn address on the screen too?

Because TV still doesn’t quite get the web. Not really. Not completely. They honestly think that just putting the Facebook and Twitter logos at the end of the credits is good enough. That it tells people that, yeah, we’re into social networking too! Really! We have the official icons and everything!

It’s easier on the web, of course. You can just put up a Facebook icon on the page and make it a link to your Facebook page. TV doesn’t have the luxury or that technology (not yet anyway), and you can’t just walk up to your TV screen and press the Facebook icon. (I tried this once and tipped over my Sony Trinitron. Try explaining that to the guy at Best Buy.)

But it’s not enough. So my advice to the networks is this: if you’re going to tell us you’re on Facebook and Twitter, put the addresses too. I’m sure you’ve grabbed a handy URL so the address isn’t going to be a 47-character line of numbers, symbols, and letters, so we’ll see it and we’ll either remember it or write it down.

P.S. If you like this article, please click the Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ icons. Thanks!

Photo Credit: NBC

Categories: | Clack | Columns | Features | General | News | TV Shows |

2 Responses to “Hey Brian Williams, what’s your Facebook address?”

December 15, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Commercials are starting to embed QR codes that your smartphone can take a picture of and turn into a web address. Likewise with audio watermarking and the Shazam app. Perhaps someday the network news will catch up to the advertisers. I wouldn’t know, since I haven’t ventured outside the internet for news in years.

December 15, 2011 at 11:18 AM

I still think it is incredibly cool that Shazam was able to find a workable business model in this way :)

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