Thursday, October 24, 2013

Consumption of Telenovelas: A Social Affair

     Now that we have started working on our consumption projects, I find it interesting to see just how much user-generated content exists in the world of telenovelas. I knew that in the US people take their soap opera watching so seriously that they will buy magazines just to read more about their favorite characters and shows; those little magazines in the checkout lines at supermarkets always seem so intriguing to me – how can they write a whole digest just on one week’s worth of shows? It seems fitting that a telenovela with a big following would have just as much written about it after it airs, if not more.


     It was interesting to see how Dr. A analyzes social media during a telenovela, too, as she described in class. Paying attention to so many different forms of social media while also watching a television episode seems exhausting. I am grateful that for our consumption project we don’t have to follow along with a live episode – there is already so much to analyze, I’m not sure how we would do it!

     There are so many different forums available online for telenovela watchers, I began to wonder if the same sites existed for US TV series that are only run weekly. Answer: They do. I looked through a few pages of televisionwithoutpity.com and it actually seems pretty similar to what’s written on telenovela forums. People bicker back and forth about liking or not liking an episode, talk about the storylines and characters as if they were real events and people, and seem to have a decent level of obsession with the show. This is basically the same as what we saw on the forums for telenovelas, but I would venture to say the obsession is a little stronger because they are aired daily, not weekly, so there’s a lot more to talk about.

     Searching twitter was also a really interesting experience because not only does the network post a lot of tweets about their shows, but fans will engage in full-on conversations about what’s going on in the show over twitter, both during and after an episode. The use of hashtags about the show, characters, and more make it easier to see what’s going on and gauge what people are thinking about an episode.

     I think that the advent of social media has probably made it easier for networks to gauge the success of their telenovelas. They have so many modes of communication at their fingertips now to find out what viewers like, don't like, want to see more of, and don't want to see again. They can see what users are saying about a particular character or episode, and even interact with viewers directly if they choose. I would imagine it is extremely helpful to have these resources on hand, because it's definitely been an advantage to have for our class as well. 

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