TV’s Next Social Media Superstar Is…

February 4th, 2013 by Search Influence Alumni

In 2012, the number of people using social media grew to 1.43 billion users. This stark increase in tweeting, posting, and pinning has grabbed the attention of traditional marketers – most notably: Television. TV shows are not only leveraging social to increase brand awareness and interactions but to increase ratings. While some shows are “duh, winning”, there have been some shows that are just doing it all wrong. This post is going to take a look at my winner and loser of TV social media in 2012.

Winner: RuPaul’s Drag Race

Before everyone started mopping their marketing, THE BEST REALITY SHOW EVER, RuPaul’s Drag Race, realized the importance of social media. In 2011, they started watermarking the Twitter hash tag #DragRace during the show. This humble hash tab would eventually birth such memorable hash tags as:

And my personal favorite…


“That’s #InDaButtRu”

Drag Race’s use of hash tags is genius because it encourages interesting conversations between fans and generates social buzz in real-time.

But of course like any good lover, RuPaul’s Drag Race is versatile. The show encouraged viewers to vote on Twitter and Facebook who would be the winner at the end of the season. By including viewers on multiple social media platforms in the decision making process, Drag Race season 4 finale was up 33% the previous year’s.

In a sentence: RuPaul’s Drag Race really know how to burn rubber get the most out of its social media MPG and leave others in the dust.

I apologize for the racing puns…

Loser: America’s Next Top Model

RuPaul isn’t the only supermodel of the world using social media. In an attempt to generate its former success, America’s Next Top Model decided to include a “social media score” in their 19th cycle. While I’m not sure how one averages catty comments about terrible makeovers and catalog poses, ANTM has managed to get its remaining audience more involved. Unfortunately Top Model saw their ratings take a tumblr (urgh more puns) down to 1.22 million viewers.

It’s not surprising that ANTM’s attempts at social media went so poorly. If you are going to declare the new judge is “social media”, it should actually be social media. You know, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Instead Ty-Ty put together a small select group of viewers and passed this off as social media.  This bothers me (and about 1.22 million teenage girls) for three reasons:

  1. Being selective on whose opinions matter isn’t social, its fascist. Not that I expect Tyra to know the difference, you can bank on that (oh god another pun).
  2. The comments from social media were filled with so many Tyra-isms you would think they were excerpts from Modelland and instead of real people.
  3. A numeric voting system used to vote on physical appearance isn’t social media, it’s

Also Bryanboy was a poor choice to present “results”.  His delivery was Sahara (RIP). The numero uno rule of social is to be sharable (i.e. fun, interesting, and outlandish) which BB simply was not.  This media boner could have actually worked if you had one of the Jays – it would have at least been entertaining to watch.


I think calling it social media was Tyra’s way to continue to live in her fantasy world that her show is relevant and people are still hopeful it will produce a supermodel.

Hate to do this Tyra but here is what social media is really saying about your show:

I think the lesson TV shows should learn is social media is like ballroom culture. If you are serving “realness,” the children will live and you will be legendary.  You can’t make grandiose claims about the viewer having control over programming when in reality the show has been taped, shipped, and ready for airing months before the premiere. Good or bad, encouraging discussion on social media will reward your show and organically grow your audience, just look at GLEE.