Lost, Survivor, Dancing with the Stars, or American Idol — if you’re a fan, the real party begins soon after each episode is aired. Location? The community sites where fans gather, tear apart, critic, discuss and share every minute aspect of the show. That’s where the real party begins.
Everyone’s favorite shows have not just hooked viewers during the half hour or hour during which they are aired. They have learned quickly to capitalize on their popularity and extend their grip over fans using social networking and community software features as an enabler. The official fan sites are equipped with blogs, videos, photos, discussion forums, wall-like updates, activity streams, polls, and everything needed for fans to come together and continue the discussion around their favorite shows.
Survivor now into its 20th season with Heroes Vs Villains sports daily blog posts from Jeff Probst with riveting opinions from the man himself. The steady stream of fan comments and activity provides a discussion base where opinions fly soon after each episode is aired and more is revealed.
American Idol’s site features the MyIdol Fan Community which is a full fledged community extension for die hard American Idol fans complete with blogs, photos, groups, forums and directory of members creating an exclusive online fan base.
Lost is just one of those shows where you compulsively need to discuss and have conversations after watching each episode and the show has no shortage of online communities setup to discuss this intriguing and mind boggling drama.
Fan communities have not just become a norm but have become and extension of tv shows and other events on the web. The enthusiasm they can generate brings together fans, spark conversation and turns them into passionate advocates for their favorite shows. With social networking and community software technology becoming more accessible, the ability to build such engaging social elements into a main website has been thrown open to smaller events and production businesses. One need not have the resources of ABC or Fox to learn from their community building experience and apply it to their own businesses, products, or offerings. Out-of the box solutions like the Communifire platform offer the social features needed to turn a simple information site into an activity filled, captivating community. The social network and fan community is at the end of the day, the online dimension to everything we love to rave about.