Robert’s Web. Safely one of the worst television programmes I have ever seen. Not that that’s my main point here, but I’ll take any chance I can get to slag off that wretched show. No, my point here is to do with the show’s Twitter account.
Let’s ignore the fact that the last tweet there is advertising the third show of the series, despite there being four episodes – a sure sign the team had given up by the last one. More importantly: there’s no goodbye message. No “thanks for watching, hope you enjoyed it”. Nowt. Zilch. Abandoned. Production office wound up, nobody there to even tweet a farewell.
Which altogether gives the impression that the account meant nothing to the makers of the show than what they could get out of it. Nobody could spare a minute to even pretend they gave a fuck, and post a goodbye. There is little more transparent than an account just abandoned like that. They never really engaged; it was all a front to try and whip up interest, then abandoned when the show failed.
In comparison, when the online game Glitch had to wind up, their Twitter feed was full of updates, proper goodbyes and fun stuff. The absolute right way to go about ending a project. Engaging with your audience to the last, not running away with your tail between your legs. It was obvious that the people running that site cared about their audience.
It’s not a hard and fast rule, obviously. I’ve seen excellent Twitter accounts run by TV people, and I’ve seen awful ones run by web companies. But it happens enough to spot a pattern, and it’s not a pleasant one when it comes to television shows.
Which makes me sad. Telly can benefit hugely from social media, done right. Done wrong, it exposes some rather uncomfortable truths.