Tag Archives: Social Networking

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


Filed under Hey! Nielsen

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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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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Filed under Television

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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Filed under Jericho, Supernatural, Television

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.


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


Filed under Cultural Learnings, Television