Experimenting With a New Audience

Something about me is that I am easily "obsessed" with some great shows: Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, The Office (R.I.P)... More recently I've become a big fan of the "Netflix Originals" with their release of the new season of House of Cards, Arrested Development as well as Orange is the New Black. Something else about me is that I am also a huge fan of "geeking" out with fellow die hard fans of my beloved programs. Every new episode of The Walking Dead I am glued to the television with phone in one hand and a computer on my lap; prepared to live chat, tweet, Google, Facebook as soon as the commercial break begins. I am that fan (SN: after many requests I have toned down my geek outs, but I'm pretty much a spoiler alert on my Twitter).

It is understandable that I am a big fan of YouTube as well, not only the everyday vloggers but also shows specifically designed for YouTube. YouTube is famous for "breaking the fourth wall" and creating an interactive experience with entertainer and fan. It opens active dialogue between the two parties, which always intrigued me. It was with one YouTube reality series that caught my eye which inspired me to write today's entry. The show's premise was very simple, it followed several California teens, many starting their senior year of high school, on their "last" Summer before school began. The show consisted of very short episodes usually lasting around 3 - 4 minutes which would feature the days bit of drama that would often carry on into the next episode. It was very easy to be addicted if you weren't careful, the inner 13 year old in me was very excited to see what appeared to be a modern revival of my beloved Laguna Beach.

The neat thing that I really enjoyed about the premise of the show, and the true reason that brought me to the site, was the interaction that the fan could have with the cast mates and the show itself. One could simply enjoy the episodes, perhaps read a comment, leave a comment and go on with their week until the next episode would air. However, if you become a superfan you can interact with the cast members on a more personal level by following their twitter, their Instagrams, Facebooks, etc. in real time, giving you a more in-depth background to the casts story. While this may come off as "stalkerish," participants are actually encouraged to do this and it is seen as part of the story-line. I was pretty excited to see this because it gave the fan a choice of how in-depth they want to take their relationship with the show. This is what truly caught my interest, the idea of interacting with your favorite cast members on a next level. Although this could be a very dangerous thing to tamper with, the idea of a complete stranger having access to all aspects of your personal life, there is still something so exciting about it. It's bringing another level of entertainment to audiences. 

Another program worth mentioning, is a new movie staring YouTube celebrities Grace Helbig, Mamrie Hart and Hannah Hart called "Camp Takota." These three women have a huge following on YouTube and fans seemed to really ecstatic about the movie they were starring in. Helbig actually brought her fans with her so to speak recording behind the scenes material on her daily vlog "Daily Grace." The followers of Helbig fell in love with the series, and many bought the $9.99 movie just for the simple fact that they got to know the actors and knew the backstory behind the making of the movie. 

I would love to know thoughts or comments on this idea of people wanting a new level of intimacy with their favorite internet/television programs. It seems as though a lot of shows wish they could have this type of interaction with fans and it looks like this show and other are experimenting with it in a fun, new, creative way.