KETC TV Social Media Experience Part Five: Next Steps and the Role Darwin will Play in These Efforts
This is the fifth in a five part series covering the efforts of the PBS affiliate in St. Louis, KETC, to align social media and traditional television. I am interviewing Rob Paterson who is part of the team supporting the KETC efforts.
Bill: What are you going to do next in the immigration project and what role do you see Darwin playing in this effort?
Rob: I am now clear about how we will use Darwin. As we start to build conversations, I am going to be looking for the patterns of iteration within these conversations through Darwin. What we are attempting to do is to create a safe place where real discussion on immigration can take place. I want to see what is just noise and what is meaningful discussion.
Once the conversation starts I am going to set a bunch of Darwin feeds on the discussion and look at the nature of this discussion. I will look at how the discussion feeds into itself and changes over time with new input. I want to look at the dynamics of the discussion. When other people are talking about our content, is the discussion more civilized? Are we infecting the discourse with civility?
Bill: You are trying to encourage the conversation on immigration to be more civil?
Rob: Yes. Well the hypothesis is that we must be able to create a more civil discourse. If we can get a critical mass of civil discourse, will that get bigger? Will we be able to create a voice that goes beyond yelling and screaming?
Bill: You want to be able to engage in a dialogue rather than rants.
Rob: Yes. Now I have no idea about what exactly we are looking for but there should be enough good people out there to help. We are like Columbus. We know the world is round. We know how big it is. Now we want to discover what happens when we try to engage in this conversation.
Bill: So your question is whether starting a civil conversation on immigration can spread. Is it infectious?
Rob: Yes. Will it spread? Darwin can measure the nature and extent of this new conversation. To look at business as another example, some businesses, like Dove soap, have created conversations that go beyond the features of their product to cover meaningful issues that relate to users of their product. They have providing a platform for women to discuss their concerns over their appearance and the concept of beauty. This can create an attachment to the company. The firms that do that in their space then own this conversation and the associated allegiance, as their competitors cannot simply start a similar one. I think every business has the chance to do this.
Bill: Yes this is what Kotex did successfully with their social media campaign.
Rob: Yes. You can change the quality of the conversation beyond product utility to something meaningful to your market. For example, one of the underlying issues about owning a car is independence. When an older person has to give up their license it is a real nail in the coffin. The people who are calling for public transportation are missing this point.
Bill: Yes, the freedom of the road was part of the North American experience before there were cars.
Rob: If a car company deepened its conversation beyond product utility it could gain a unique hold on the market. It cannot consistently win the utility conversation over time, as products continuously change. There is only room for one of these deeper conversations so the first company to create it, then owns it. It is a brilliant strategy as you leave your competitor with no way to respond.
Bill: Yes and this is what Kotex did as we mentioned. Now going back to KETC, you are attempting to deepen the conversation and you are going to use Darwin to see whether you succeed and uncover the nature of this new conversation.
Bill: And it is not a yes or no answer. It is how you succeeded or failed and what progress you made. You want Darwin to help you filter out the nuances of the conversation.
Rob. Yes. Then we can take that information and feed it back into the conversation to hopefully deepen the conversation. We know that in complexity, iteration is the process for growth and development. Now we can track the iterations through Darwin and see the cumulative effects.
Bill: Thanks for sharing this project with us. You have provided a great example of the value that Darwin can bring to a social media effort and to any analysis of a complex issue. We really appreciate it.