Tag Archives: Hey! Nielsen

A Brief Hey! Nielsen Update

Hey everyone,

I might get to Pushing Daisies tonight, but it’s a hectic week and I don’t have all that much to say about the episode. What I want to focus on instead is an email I just got from Steve at Hey! Nielsen. After our Sound Off! Week came to a bit of an abrupt end when I pretty much ran out of time, I didn’t get a chance to properly address some issues. One of these was just how fantastic they are about making changes to their system to better reflect actual activity.

In the short term, these are a risky proposition for the Hey! Nielsen crew: they result in decreases in the scores of shows, which angers the fans who have put their efforts into the site. However, they’re about long term sustainability: remembering that this isn’t just a month-long installation, but rather a site that is intended to make an impact for years ahead, this is an important step in that direction.

In this case, Steve revealed two important things:

  • That recent activity is valued more than past activity. In other words, rather than cramming all of your efforts into one day and bursting to the top, it will take a continued presence on the site (Let’s say one opinion a week) to really make a long-term impact. This means that there is incentive for people visiting on a regular basis. This could cause more spamming, more often, but I am hoping that people refrain from this.
  • That although they won’t reveal the exact formula (It’s the internet’s own Caramilk Secret), they can confirm that Reactions, which were where fans of Jericho and Supernatural were seeing people responding negatively out of spite, do not have a huge impact. In fact, they never have, and it has actually been adjusted further.

These two things are great for fans: on the one hand they provide a great deal of incentive, and on the other hand they downplay the negative nellies who ruined the experience for some fans of shows like the Dresden Files, Jericho or Supernatural. It creates a much more positive environment, which I think should help the long-term sustainability of the site.

And speaking of long-term, there’s no more long-term in the TV Blog Contest, which ends tonight. So if you want to get in a last minute vote for Cultural Learnings, it would be most appreciated!

Hey! Nielsen TV Blog Entry – Cultural Learnings

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Hey! Nielsen TV Blog Contest Update – 3rd Place? Madness!

Hey everyone, hope everything is going well out there. While I’m busy off dealing with the faculty strike (They’re talking again tomorrow night, in case someone is theoretically interested in my daily affairs), I missed an email that informed me that Cultural Learnings was sitting in 3rd Place in the Hey! Nielsen TV Blog Contest.

Needless to say, I need to thank everyone who has voted for me thus far. The fact that you’d take the time to react to this site in a positive fashion shows I must be doing something right. I greatly appreciate the support, and only wish I could have been more productive over the weekend to justify this high placement.

Now, you might be wondering what my plans are to dethrone the current leader. Well, I have no plans whatsoever. When it comes to who deserves to win this contest, there is no doubt in my mind that current #1, Jericho Monster, is that site.

Jane has put together a site that has garnered interviews with not only bloggers like myself and Rich over at Copywrite Ink., but also actors like Lennie James, who plays Hawkins on Jericho. Her interviews and postings have been a huge service to a fan campaign, and her contributions don’t stop there: whether on message boards or elsewhere, Jane has been a huge part of the Save Jericho campaign.

And since that’s really what Hey! Nielsen is for, rewarding those who step outside the box to promote their favourite series, I want everyone who might vote for me to vote for Jane as well.

Hey! Nielsen TV Blog Entry – Jericho Monster

Hey! Nielsen TV Blog Entry – Cultural Learnings

Thanks again, everyone: voting ends on October 24th!

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Sound Off! Week – Hey! Nielsen – Is it Making a Difference?

I have to apologize for not being able to post yesterday: I’m currently working with the students’ union as part of some pre-faculty strike preparations, so that took up a great deal of my time. As a result, I’m going to set us back a few days and finish this series on Sunday with some final recommendations. But, before I head out for the weekend, I want to leave what I think are some of the most important statements that Jericho and Supernatural fans made to me in their responses.

The reality is that Hey! Nielsen is a social networking site with a purpose: to better inform the Nielsen Company and their advertisers/partners about what parts of television, movies, etc. are most popular. The site is sold as a way to take the example of Jericho’s fandom to the next level, and this is why Jericho and Supernatural fans rushed to the new medium.

But the problem that the site faces is that it has no proof (as of this writing) that this is actually making a difference. There is no tangible return on their involvement: they spend a week pouring their hearts out about their favourite show, but did that make a difference? And, if it didn’t, why should they bother with this site when they’re already posting on message boards or on LiveJournal in the same fashion?

I know that the site doesn’t purport to have a direct impact on Nielsen ratings, but I think that the “purpose” of the site has led to a great deal of disinterest in its development. It’s one thing to post on a message board, such as the CBS Jericho Message Boards: you know you’re making a difference, but you have no illusion of your post being read by Nina Tassler and for Jericho to receive a third season order in the process.

But when you post on Hey! Nielsen, there is that illusion: that, in some way, being #1 on this site could be a breakthrough for your fandom. But then nothing happens: Supernatural’s ratings haven’t seen any sort of spike, Jericho doesn’t have a timeslot yet, and the Dresden Files (Newcomers to the Hey! Nielsen game, and to this blog. Welcome!) still remains canceled. People see this and, for obvious reasons, start to wonder if it was all a waste of time.

What Hey! Nielsen needs to do now is give its users at least some sense that someone is listening: I don’t care if it’s a PR letter from the head of the Nielsen Company, the first in its user-led focus groups being announced, or something to prove that they’re paying attention. A social networking site that purports to being a megaphone for fans to extend their views to a more important audience is a novel concept, but there needs to be some reciprocity in the relationship.

For now, here are what Jericho and Supernatural Fans thought of the site’s future differences, read below. If you have your own thoughts from the perspective of another fan group, let us know in the comments below!

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Sound Off! Week – Hey! Nielsen – The Spamming Question

With a confusing system and a new form of social networking, the right way to go about getting used to Hey! Nielsen is taking one’s time. You step back, view the situation, and based on that engage the new medium with a fresh eye.

But fan movements aren’t about taking their time: for better or for worse, they are about mass movement and mass impact, something rarely associated with stopping to smell the roses. The result was a huge swarm of Jericho and Supernatural fans as they rose to the top of the charts, which is seemingly “good” based on the site’s attempt at measuring fandom. However, it was clear that in the hustle and bustle there had arisen some hard feelings. Jericho and Supernatural fans were labeled “spammers,” flooding the site with too many opinions and only focusing on a single series.

While here at Cultural Learnings we provided a certain level of warning to fans about this, we did make note that those who attacked fans for this were missing the point. This was echoed by fans who responded, upset at the lack of patience on the other side of the fence.

“To generalize our fandom like that makes me a little upset,” Supernatural fan Brooklyn writes, “because some of us know how to conduct ourselves accordingly. I also want to say that I think one reason we were so zealous is because we saw this as an opportunity to really get the word out on our notoriously over looked show.”

Similarly, Jericho fan Starfire felt “people should use the Grandmother principle: as in “What would your Grandmother think of your actions – if she would give you a pinch – don’t do it.” However, all sides agreed that a certain level of negativity is to be expected; unfortunately, however, negativity is something that can go too far.

These two fan groups, with so much in common, found themselves not only pitted against overzealous users from other areas but also against one another. A lot of this can be linked to the competitive element of the website: fans from one side trying to regain the top spot placing negative views on the other show in question.

One Supernatural fan notes that they “don’t like Jericho, but I’m not over in the sandbox mucking up thier threads. It’s silly and childish.” And many others agreed: the competitive element of the site brought out some unfortunate behaviour that is not likely to be indicative of normal internet etiquette. It became a race to become #1 as opposed to promoting their show through non-numerical, non-quantitative ways.

And I don’t understand this, I’ll be honest: Jericho and Supernatural fans have a lot in common, and attacking one another was in the best interest of no one. I understand that being #1 became important, but was not also the public perception of one’s fandom through comments/reactions part of that concern. These are two fan groups that should be working together, not at each other’s throats.

There were also other individuals who began attacking this rising fandom by placing negative reactions on all things Jericho, Supernatural, Stargate: Atlantis, Dresden Files and everything else. I think this is the exact opposite approach one should take. These fan groups were overeager, maybe, but is eagerness really such a sin?

However, these fans are not dwelling on the negativity. As Jericho fan foxgray1 notes, “I feel it is the nature of humanity for some people to be heavily defen[sive] in their own thought systems[;]…also, some people will fight just for the sake of fighting.” This attitude promotes the message I received from most fans: they accept the negative comments, feel they’re slightly out of taste, but have not been distracted from the thing that brought them there in the first place: promoting the show(s) they love.

Which is why this isn’t a problem that Hey! Nielsen can really fix. The competitive nature of the site will always bring out the worst in everyone, and it’s up to fans to keep it from surfacing and to not let it distract from the real purpose. This is a solution that is about fans, users and Hey! Nielsen being more understanding of the fandom out there, and I don’t think there’s a “plan of action” that could solve these concerns. However, really, this is more for the fans to decide. I’ll post more of their comments below, and then hopefully more might offer their own solutions to this concern.

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Sound Off! Week – Hey! Nielsen – A Land of Confusion

Sound Off! on Hey! Nielsen

A Land of Confusion

Yesterday, in discussing the problem of points of origin, it was inevitable that we’d leak into today’s issue. The established knowledge of other sites is a barrier of entry, but it is only one cause of the confusion that many fans delved further into within the comments section yesterday. Hey! Nielsen’s general design is, in itself, confusing even without any pre-existing views on what social networking represents.

WelcometoCO, a Jericho fan, found that “the Comment, Reaction, and Opinion options sound and seem like one and the same to me, and it took a long while before I could find any explanation that attempted to differentiate them. For that reason, I had already “klutzed” my way through the site and probably violated the intent for each of the options offered — becoming one of those dreaded Jericho ‘spammers’ who were so roundly criticized.”

What I want to do, based on this comment, is actually look at the intention behind the Opinion, Reaction and Comment options to attempt to figure out why they’re there, what they should be used for, and how they are confusing even once you’re used to the system (I’ll be getting to the spamming tomorrow).

Opinions

Opinions are something I equate to a message board post, but they’re also an unfortunately blank template. The purpose of an opinion is simple: expressing one’s opinion. And while I know that it is taboo to tell people what to say, I am personally open to a bit more guidance as to what makes a good or bad opinion.

Opinions have ranged from detailed analyses of new series or premiere episodes to simple statements of like or dislike without any further analysis. Are these examples of good or bad opinions? We don’t really know.

“The main detractor, as many have already said, is a lack of topic direction,” fan BlackLid noted in yesterday’s comments section. “Regardless of the site, what all social networking areas have in common is a category and then a subject to which other users can respond. There are clearly acceptable categories and clearly unacceptable ones.”

This seems like a great way to further provide a framework to opinions: opinions about the cast could be separated from general opinions, for example. It doesn’t fix every problem, but it might provide more thought being put into each individual opinion: as BlackLid pointed out, a series of dropboxes would help in streamlining this process.

Reactions

Reactions, meanwhile, are somewhat easier to understand: you agree or disagree with an opinion. However, the problem with Reactions is that I often don’t quite know what I’m reacting to. If someone posts a negative opinion of a series, and I disagree with it, is that registered as a negative reaction to the show or to that opinion? I’m still not entirely sure, but I think it is relevant information that would (for me) clarify the situation.

Comments

I think that, in comments, there lies a great deal of the site’s content potential. In commenting, people are able to enter into a discourse, and there is a sense that each opinion is in fact a discussion, which elevates that discourse to a more interactive level.

But no one is using them: an opinion might have sixty reactions, but only 5 comments. For me, comments are an integral part of people understanding this process: you could make a great opinion, but commenting on others is just as important to the discourse that will follow. If you want to create a social networking community, comments are essential. I think that a larger focus on the importance of this element, even though it is more difficult and time-consuming than a two-click reaction, would help avoid the spamming issue as well (Which, as noted, we’ll get into with greater detail tomorrow).

Conclusion

This is not to say that it is impossible to figure the system out. There exists a certain level of quality in the organization, and it’s certainly possible to have a decent discussion. But, in the interest of more people being involved, it would be great if these three new forms of communication could be both better explained and streamlined to be as representative as possible of their true purpose. There is, in other words, light at the end of the tunnel.

“I was [confused], briefly,” says Supernatural fan Shoi. “I can see where it’s a little difficult to tell how to leave feedback, but I figured out it by going slowly and taking my time. “

Shoi set a good example, as did several of the other fans who contacted me. However, in a world where many people don’t take their time, I believe we have plenty of suggestions on what Hey! Nielsen could do to improve. For more, continue reading below.

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Sound Off! Week – Hey! Nielsen – The Problem of Points of Origin

Sound Off! on Hey! Nielsen

The Problem of Points of Origin

One of the problems that Hey! Nielsen faces is that the fans who reach the site are almost all primarily arriving via other forms of social networking: Message Boards, MySpace, LiveJournal, etc. The problem is that many of these people, then, are used to the systems already in place, and a whole new interface (And a confusing one: opinions, ratings, comments are all unique measurements to the site, as we’ll get to tomorrow) is nearly impossible to understand immediately.

The Problem 

Supernatural fan Franzi, a Livejournal user, notes that “the way livejournal works, it would never occur to one that a new opinion is like an entire livejournal post; at best, we’d think it was the start of a new comment thread and at worst, a single comment. Quite simply: we do not use social networking sites or message boards to any significant degree.” This problem is not new: a great deal of television fans are not tech savvy twenty-somethings who can easily adapt to a new social networking system.

Jericho fans, meanwhile, heard about it through their most universal form of communication: the CBS Message Boards where much of the Nuts for Jericho campaign originated (Although it has grown into a large and great series of other sites).

“I first heard about Hey!Nielsen on the CBS/Jericho Message Board,” says Jericho fan WelcometoCO. “Somebody’s posting listed a link in which you could express your interest in Hey!Nielsen.”

While Jericho fans come primarily from a message board environment, they still faced the same problem: spurred on by calls to action, they jumped into Hey! Nielsen and saw it as an avenue for their fandom. This is fandom that has been well-developed within a certain environment, but when unleashed on something different in even a direct fashion it will (inevitably) run into a few hiccups.

The Root of the Problem 

Therefore, when it comes to the problems that Hey! Nielsen needs to address, the root of their confusion issue (Which will be discussed in further detail tomorrow) is that their learning has often been limited to certain systems. The large glut of social networking sites have not forced everyone into conformity, but rather created a dozen different skillsets that are not always transferrable.

In developing the site, then, this really needed to be considered. There is nothing that really explains what Hey! Nielsen is: it’s really an amalgam of Digg, with a little bit of Facebook/MySpace thrown in for good measure, but taking two popular mediums and combining them does not mean people will understand. Fans are a diverse group of people, and any new social networking site needs to reflect this within its design and mission statement.

The Solution

A relative tutorial that explains what each of the site’s options is compared to other social networking forms. When I first equated “Opinions” to message board posts, fans were shocked that this was the case: if that had been done in the first place, I don’t think that there would have been the same level of problems. Creating an entire new lexicon of terms might sound like a good idea, but all it creates is confusion. Understanding those differences and adapting the system to reflect that is a great way to solve the problem fans have put forward.

For all of the Jericho and Supernatural fan responses regarding how they came to Hey! Nielsen, keep reading after the jump.

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Sound Off! Week: Jericho and Supernatural Fans on ‘Hey! Nielsen’

On a personal level, I think that Hey! Nielsen is an intriguing social networking experiment that, unfortunately, doesn’t fit the type of television discourse I prefer. It is a system based on popularity and volume, whereas I tend to search for more analysis-based discussion. Some users are of the same mind, but it seems like the mass hysteria keeps those elements from resonating.

But this is reasonable, because the site really isn’t designed for me. Rather, it is designed for fans who want a new way for their fandom to be measured. So, when it came time to analyze Hey! Nielsen’s performance over its first two weeks, I decided to go right to the source: the fans of Jericho, oft-covered on this blog for their passion and determination in reengaging their show, and the fans of Supernatural, who fear that their show could end up in Jericho’s boat eventually.

But the site has not met their needs, which is a consensus amongst all of those who responded to a call for feedback posted to various social networking forums. The earliest of the heavy users, these two groups have a lot to say although the main message is clear: fans want a clearer format, a better sense of direction, and to receive something out of the system. Whether or not these problems are solved may well dictate whether Hey! Nielsen can gain any level of relevance within a crowded social networking market.

Over the next week, I am going to highlight five different problems that face the site for new users, and will be posting the feedback I received from a range of Jericho and Supernatural fans. So, come back each day for another glimpse into a fan’s experience of a new social networking forum, and perhaps offer your own views if you’re a user yourself. The more opinions we get, the better Hey! Nielsen can implement these changes. This is a public beta, after all: the whole point is that feedback can and should change the existing model.

And I want to make sure that this happens.

Cultural Learnings’ Sound Off! Week

Jericho and Supernatural Fans on Hey! Nielsen

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

  • The Spamming Question

Thursday

  • Does Hey! Nielsen impact television REALLY?

Friday

  • Suggestions on Improving Hey! Nielsen

So stay tuned to Cultural Learnings for all the feedback over the next week, and be sure to have your voice heard in the comments section! We want to make sure that the voices of these fans are heard loud and clear, so that Hey! Nielsen can live up to its full potential in the months to come.

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One Week Later: Hey! Nielsen Reflections

Okay, so this is jumping the gun on the week part a little, but the television week has essentially come to a close as of today. With it comes the end of a hectic and exciting public beta launch of Hey! Nielsen, where Television, Movies, Internet Sites and Celebrities are lauded, criticized and given a rating defining their popularity. It has been a week of growing pains, “spamming,” and a whole host of issues (good and bad) rising to the surface.

First, I want to thank the crew behind Hey! Nielsen for being quick to answer queries, easy to relate to, and willing to engage their audience. The future of the site hinges on a combination of our feedback and your willingness to accept it, and I have been wholly impressed on this front, as has been reflective of the coverage here at Cultural Learnings.

Cultural Learnings’ Hey! Nielsen Coverage

That being said, I want to address some of the issues that have popped up. And no, this isn’t me complaining about the lack of love for Cultural Learnings’ own entry: I’d like to thank everyone who has voted or commented, I really appreciate it. However, Rich over at Copywrite Ink. has written a very insightful piece about the problems the site is currently facing, and I want to refer to and expand on his argument:

“It took less than a day for fans to see what Hey! Nielsen really is — a social network that asks “users” (a word that is well past its prime) to pile into the school gymnasium and have a shouting match. Those with the biggest lungs win. And those with the most outrageous comments get the most attention.”

The distinction I want to make here is that what Rich says here is an accurate description of the way Hey! Nielsen is currently operating…but this is not how it has been designed. I think that the problems Hey! Nielsen is currently facing are due to the fundamental difference between how they imagined the system being used and how it is actually being used.

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A Friendly Warning to Supernatural and Jericho Fans Re: Hey! Nielsen

Over the first day of the public beta stage of Hey! Nielsen, the ratings company’s new online social networking site, there emerged a trend of sorts: mainly, two TV Series emerging from the pack to dominate the popularity charts. Those two series? Supernatural and Jericho.

In the case of Supernatural, the series has performed admirably in the toughest timeslot on television (Thursdays at 9pm), but is facing a new challenge this year: it is now in direct competition with NBC’s The Office, a huge hit amongst younger viewers. Perhaps anticipating this move, fans are banding together with sites like Supernatural Underground to make sure that their show gets the appreciation they believe it observes.

Jericho fans, as I’ve documented in the past, are fighting to keep the promotion of their series going while its 7-episode order awaits a spot on CBS’ schedule. They’re currently dealing with some internal struggles, but there remains a group devoted to promoting the show to new fans and ensuring that the series has a future on television.

And the devotion of both of these fan groups is palpable: they are #1 and #2 respectively on the Hey! Nielsen website. However, as much as I respect and honour the dedication of these groups of fans, I want to warn them that as with any other social networking there is a distinct possibility that some of this support may backfire. And, although I would never attempt to tell anyone what to do, I want to make a suggestion.

On a message board, there’s a general rule that if there’s a thread of discussion open about something, you should comment there as opposed to starting your own. This becomes more subjective when it comes to “Opinions” as Hey! Nielsen labels them, but I think it applies in this instance as well. Within both of the above camps there has been opinions which are nearly identical, but are posted separately.

This creates more opinions, yes, but also more backlash from the outside community: there are people who are deliberately going into opinions about these two shows and reacting negatively against them purely due to volume. There’s even an opinion on the subject from someone who enjoys the show (And has been involved in developing the site) regarding the overpopulation of Jericho Opinions.

Can Jericho Fans Talk About Anything Else? – Hey! Nielsen

And while I think that the point could have been made in a slightly less antagonistic fashion, I agree with her: I think there are too many opinions about Jericho, and Supernatural for that matter. This is supposed to be about promotion, but it is losing the key aspects of a strong promotional drive.

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Hey! Nielsen: Giving Voice to Internet Fandom

Late last week, I was invited to take part in a private beta for a new website called Hey! Nielsen. And yes, it is that Nielsen company, the same one that has been attacked from all sides for its misrepresentation of a show’s true popularity. But, impressively, Nielsen is stepping outside of their boxes and notepads, instead turning to the social networking craze of the internet to find a new way of measuring popularity.

http://www.heynielsen.com

The result is a website that, in my experience with it, has a great deal of potential in terms of monitoring internet chatter. However, the most important thing at this point is that people actually start using this service to their advantage. Starting today (Monday, September 24th), the private beta becomes public, and the world gets a chance to make their opinion heard even without a fancy box sitting on their television.

Users are able to do three things:

  • Post their own opinions about TV Shows, Movies, Celebrities, Music and Internet sites like Jericho Monster or TelevisionWithoutPity.
  • React to other people’s opinions and post comments about their agreement/disagreement.
  • Rate each TV Show/Movie/etc. based on their own preference so people can view their profile and get an idea of their personal taste.

For fans of a series like Jericho, which is actually mentioned in the site’s opening introduction as an example of how this can work, this is a fantastic opportunity for them to have their voices heard. However, I would suggest that anyone who joins from Jericho’s legion of fans, or the fans of any other show, that they use this service as more than just promotion. Hey! Nielsen is about both what people like and don’t like, so while promoting your favourite show be sure to offer opinions on others.

On a personal level, Cultural Learnings was selected to take part in the Best of TV Blogs Contest being held for about the next month or so. As part of that, there has been an area set up where you can post opinions about this site, as well as a whole host of much better TV websites, and then there are some prizes awarded. So if you want to show me some love, or perhaps make a commentary about how awful a human being I am, feel free to do so. Just rate the site, and then leave a comment if you wish.

Hey! Nielsen – Cultural Learnings’ Contest Entry

There are a lot of exciting things planned for the site: widgets, feeds, and a TV viewing calendar feature are all planned for the future, although are not likely to be present in the public beta starting tomorrow. I’ll be posting some opinions throughout the day, especially with some big premieres to come this evening, so stay tuned: I’ll post them here once they’re up so you can get a feel for how the service works.

Cultural Learnings’ Opinions

Jericho – The Best Fans In Television

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