If I hear “Join the conversation” one more time, I’m going to scream. This is trite and uninspired. First of all, to me (the listener), it’s NOT a “conversation” UNTIL I join it. It’s just a bunch of people I don’t know jabbering away on Twitter. It ranks right up there with someone’s picture of kale zucchini on Instagram. (And any “conversation” about that should include the words “makes me want to hurl.”)
John Oliver, the wonderful host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” really gets how social media should be used. Instead of the nebulous, pandering, “What do you think?” or the even more beaten-to-death “join the conversation,” Oliver gives people something to DO.
Example: In April of 2016, Oliver did a piece on the expensive seats in Yankee Stadium in a prime location, known as the “Legends Club” – the first five rows of seats. Priority seating access, people (servants, actually) bringing your food to you so you don’t have to stand in line with the plebeians who have to wait for their lukewarm 15-dollar beer – you get the picture. Oliver quoted the Yankees’ COO actually saying — out loud — in a radio interview that “If you buy a ticket in a very premium location, we don’t want you to sell it for a buck and a half” to a fan who “may be someone who has never sat in a premium location…so that’s a frustration to our existing fan base.”
Indignant about this “rich people don’t like sitting next to people who aren’t rich” perspective, Oliver BOUGHT two “Legends” seats to each of the Yankees’ first three games – right behind home plate. And he offered to sell them to you for 25 CENTS, with the provision that you COULDN’T dress nicely!
To get them, you tweeted a photo of what you and a guest would wear to the game, with the hash-tag #IHAVENEVERSATINAPREMIUMLOCATION.
Totally intrigued by this, I saw the two winning fans at the first game, sitting with all the high rollers and multi-gazillionaires, dressed in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costumes! Well done, John Oliver, you strange but brilliant British fellow. If you get to Hawaii, come to my place, and we’ll sit in shorts, tee-shirts, and flip-flops (my attire EVERY day) and I’ll throw a steak on the grill for you.
The lesson: Let’s DO something, and get in on the ACTION, not just “join the conversation.”
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Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2016 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.