Jenni Hogan’s social TV experiment: What we learned

Like many of you in the Seattle region, I stayed up past bedtime last night (well, it was past my bedtime, at least) to watch Jenni Hogan’s experiment in social television on KIRO-TV — a show blending live television and online streaming with real-time interaction on Facebook and Twitter.

I should say that we here at GeekWire are big fans of Jenni Hogan, the KIRO traffic reporter and online personality, so my thoughts on the topic aren’t entirely unbiased. The level of energy that she and the KIRO team brought to the show was great — enthusiastically highlighting interesting people and topics in social media and technology.

The hash tag #KIROConnect was trending on Twitter at one point, and as tech investor Geoff Entress noted, it was a galvanizing event for the Seattle tech community, another demonstration of what happens when the community comes together and rallies behind something important.

Most of all, it showed that there’s a simple power in mixing live video with social media — as I learned when Jenni called out one of my tweets on the show, after I teased Banyan Branch’s Blake Cahill about trying to take the mic from her a couple times.

Sitting at home, watching Twitter and the live stream, the moment made me feel empowered and engaged with the show, in a way I’ve never felt before with a traditional media outlet.

If KIRO were to send me a survey asking for my thoughts as a viewer, my one big piece of feedback would be that it felt too energetic at times, with too many people in the physical space, and too much going on there.

In my mind, it would have been better to have Jenni behind a late-night talk show desk, with maybe a couple guests and a sidekick, cracking jokes and just riffing on what people were saying on Twitter and Facebook.

The sheer variety of content and action in the studio made it feel a little too frenetic, especially for that time of night. (At times it was also too promotional for the companies of the featured guests.)

In hindsight, I wanted it to seem like sitting down with Jenni and a couple of her friends, having fun and maybe learning something. I would tune in for something like that every week.

Social media isn’t just more fluid, it’s more casual, and I was hoping for more of that in the show. It felt too much like an earnest TV news channel trying to put on a late-night, live social media show — which is what it was, after all … but I guess I wanted less of that.

But that’s exactly the type of thing we learn from experiments like this, and KIRO deserves a ton of credit for putting on the show. Even the sheer logistics of the thing were impressive, and it’s good to see a traditional media outlet doing so much to explore the integration of traditional and new media.

This was one-time special, not the beginning of a regular series, so its future would depend on the reaction from the audience, online and on television.

So if you tuned in, what did you think?

Also see our previous Q&A with Jenni about her goals and reasons for doing the show.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jennihogan Jenni Hogan

    Love it Todd! Thanks do much for being a part of such a big night for me. Too funny your tweet was right there when I looked down at my screen. Cheers to getting you in this moment!!!!! Awesome write up. I can’t wait to watch it as a viewer and see how it looks and get my head around it. Totally LOVE your ideas. Hopefully the viewers respond and we can play more. Nice sit down sounds good too me (would save my feet in cute heels lol lots of walking last night).Feeling pretty lucky to have you all in my world. The tech community deserves this spotlight, so many good stories/people. Honored to be their voice even if it’s just for one night. 

  • http://www.paulbalcerak.com/ paulbalcerak

    Thanks for a great write-up, Todd, and thanks for tuning in.

  • theseattlecook

    Well done! Encore! 

  • Guest

    Sounds like 

  • http://twitter.com/DaveMacMS Dave McLauchlan

    I was fortunate enough to be “in-studio” last night at Banyan, and was very glad to participate. I think the key data point here is that everyone was experimenting – this is an entirely new concept, and there was much to be learnt. As an audience member, having a more formal way to help engage streaming & TV viewers would have been great – but we had so much fun just tweeting whatever came to mind, that this definitely didn’t impact our experience. I just think that’s an awesome opportunity to kick things up a notch.

    So I have to admit that I too am not entirely unbiased – but HUGE kudos to Jenni, KIRO7 and all those involved for giving this a shot, and allowing us all to get some phenomenal learnings out of the experience. I’m sure there was much to be taken away from the show by the KIRO execs and I look forward to seeing the next iteration with refinements and hopefully an even bigger stage!

  • http://www.highlighter.com/ John Holdcroft

    Followed it for about 15-20 minutes.  Impressive in scope and goals, but perhaps the event’s reach exceeded its grasp.  Just a little too much mind traffic going on.  And the effect of Jenni walking around from room to room, while dynamic and hard-charging, seemed disorienting to me.  Amazing idea and certainly worth tuning into more than tedious late local news or Frazier.  I am sure if I was mentioned on air, I would think it to be the best attempt and bringing together communities ever.  Jenni is to be admired and I hope more of these types of events happen.  Late night when all the geeks are at play, and my two kids are in bed, might be your sweet spot.

  • Blake Cahill

    It was great to host Jenni for this inaugural event @banyanbranch and I was tired just watching her energy! We hope the viewers enjoyed the show and that @KIRO7Seattle continues the experiment.  Cheers @bcahill 

  • http://twitter.com/TauhidChappell Tauhid Chappell

    I liked it. This will serve as a prototype for future social TV specials (or series later down the road). It’s exciting times we live in and I’m looking forward to seeing how I, and the industry, integrates social media and traditional broadcast to create a more viewer-engaged show.

    One suggestion, if the audience is there, perhaps pre-screen potential local viewers and pull up a google-hangout with them and let them be on live TV as well!

  • Renee

    I think what we are learning, or being reminded of, is that all media depend on each other. As consumers and marketers we need to understand the unique benefits that each offer and how the can be used in conjunction with each other. In the dark ages, print and broadcast saw each other as competion – for dollars, readers, viewers etc.  Today, they are all forming partnerships with each other and utilizing tech communiation tools to integrate and cross promote in ways that benefit their audience size, bottom line and advertising partners. The consumer benefits by having multiple outlets in order to receive information in different ways — a tweet to alert someone of a news story or interesting TV show for example, then a link to get more in depth information. Or access to an event or information they would not otherwise have.  (See Brad Kezelowski tweeting from the track at the Daytona 500 this year from his Sprint enabled iPhone: he tripled his followers and made his sponsors very, very happy.)

    However, I hope that there will be more topics rather than just media reporting on (social) media. I think it would be more interesting, and of more benefit to the community to have a news organization like KIRO leverage social media and tech tools to build community outside of the tech community – use a similar format for election coverage or debates about important local issues/ referendums as an example.

  • http://twitter.com/voipnorm Chris Norman

    I just watched the replay on the Kiro Website. I really liked the format and feel but towards the end they needed to add a little more structure to the whole event, seemed a little random. Lots of camera movement, more just general chatter and thanking folks when it seemed like there was a good five minutes left to go and so it lost some impact and momentum towards the end of the show.

    Overall it was a good event and Jenni’s hair looked great:) We need more Aussies on TV in Seattle.