Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

ABC Asks Facebook Users to Talk About Their New Sitcom, and They Do. Uh Oh.

Facebook wants advertisers to make ads that are so good that the social network’s users treat them like content: “Like” them, share them and comment on them.

The upside to this approach is obvious: You conscript/cajole ordinary people into becoming advocates for your brand/show/widget. What could be better?

And the downsides are pretty familiar to lots of marketers, too: If you ask people to comment on your brand/show/widget, you don’t really know what they’re going to say.

So here’s a live example of the pros/cons: A viral video for “Don’t Trust the B– in Apt. 23,” a new ABC show that debuts next week. The clip stars James Van Der Beek, who some of you will remember from “Dawson’s Creek” way back in the 1990s. It showed up on my Facebook page because a couple of my Facebook pals liked it.

So far, so good. And the clip is nudge-wink funny enough, in a “could make it to SNL but won’t make the highlight reel” kinda way.

It’s the commentary that accompanies the video that might give an ABC executive pause. Or maybe not. Maybe any eyeball is a good eyeball. But read on and make your own call:




Worth noting that over on YouTube, which famously has all sorts of unpleasantness roaming free in its comments section, the conversation is PG, PC and very brief — just 8 comments, even though the clip has generated some 29,000 views. Which makes me think ABC or YouTube has been moderating what goes on over there.

Wonder when/if ABC and Facebook will try to do the same.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald