Do Social Media Strategies Go To Heaven?

June 26, 2008

in Social Networking,Television

A few days ago we installed the second round of additions to the WIRED SCIENCE Facebook application (which I discussed first here). We gave the application more elements (10 elements, instead of 5), more compounds (55 compounds instead of 15), and I redesigned the quiz algorithm (and added one more question). Take the test again or install the app to see the new additions.

Although I just added the final touches to the application, the show is out of season and will not be coming back to PBS. The series was canceled, which is unfortunate, because the show had great potential to reach a younger audience for PBS (“young” meaning older than the Curious George crowd but younger than the older demographic). In addition, it had great social media potential (in my eyes), but needed some time to get off the ground (i.e. another season). Either way, we are in the phase of evergreening the site, shutting down the blog, and slowing things down.

The show’s cancellation has me asking myself, where do social media strategies go when they’re no longer needed? So far, the results of our most significant strategies are:

The Facebook application is especially interesting to me because it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Since launch, the application has been averaging 100 new installs per day. This is with no paid promotional activity whatsoever. I don’t expect this to stop anytime soon, because I don’t think we will reach a ceiling going at this (slow but) steady rate of installation (considering the number of users on Facebook). I designed the application to be viral enough for it to self promote. I suppose I could turn those activities off if I wanted to.

For the blog, we have decided to stop all posting, write our goodbyes and leave commenting open for a few weeks. We will then shut down all comments, and leave the blog up for the sake of Google and reference.  I am not sure what to do with the Twitter account. It essentially was a machine for the blog and site updates, but with no more site updates, what else is there? I suppose the Facebook fan page can stay in place, however we’ll probably put up a notice about the show and site saying farewell.

 I feel like I am divorcing or “putting out” a community I spent months building and nurturing. Now that we don’t have the time and resources to support it, what’s the best way to properly memorialize it? Any thoughts on what we (or any media entity using social media) should do in a situation like this? If situations like this are concerning for TV shows, should we even bother with such strategies, and just let the fans do it organically on the web?

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