Adam on the Alison Arngrim Show
Adam Sharp, Interim CEO of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and former Head of News, Government & Elections at Twitter, joins Alison Arngrim to talk about the 45th Daytime Emmy Awards, the changing media landscape, social media and politics.
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Well, hi. This is the Alison Arngrim Show, and I'm Alison Arngrim. A lot of you probably know me as Nelly Olsen from Little House on the Prairie. Here on the Alison Arngrim Show we like to talk about the things that make you feel good. The TV shows that made you feel good, the movies that made you feel good and people who are doing wonderful, insane, interesting, fun, beautiful things in this world, to make the world a better place, and they're doing exciting stuff. We have a good one tonight. I have with me the new, newly appointed interim president of the National Academy of Television, Arts & Sciences, the people who bring you the Emmy's. Yes. He's not just that. He also, from 2010 to 2016 was the head of news government elections at Twitter. He was actually referred to by the New York Times as the living embodiment of Twitter, which I'm not really sure if that's a compliment or not. I don't know. But he's a very nice guy. So we have with us, Adam Sharp. Hi, welcome to the show.
Hello. Thanks for having me.
Well, you've had quite the career, and I hope you're not really the living embodiment of Twitter. I think there's an ointment you could get to clear that up, if that's the case. How are you? Welcome to the show, and what's it like to be the new president of the National Academy of Television, Arts & Sciences?
Thank you. It's actually incredible. My involvement with the organization is nearing five years now. I'm new to this role, I actually owe the Academy quite a great deal. Because in the mid-'90s they established a scholarship program, and I won that scholarship in its second year. My first full-time job was working for one of the trustees of the academy, who discovered me through the scholarship program. Then I went on to be part of the Committee, selecting scholarship winners, chairing that committee and then that led to this position. So it's really exciting to have been involved with the Academy from all these different angles. And now be in a role where I can help build the Academy's next chapter, after all they've done for me over the years.
That's great. It's almost like they're getting their nickles worth back. I mean, you've got the scholarship, and now you're president and helping them.
We just had the 45th annual Daytime Emmy Awards, which actually doubled its viewership from last year. That's unusual, because what we're hearing lately over the last years, award shows are having trouble getting people to stay tuned to them. Back when I was young, and you had three channels, and you had all of the things that were award shows, that was it, everybody was glued to them. Now everything is all over the map, but now you're telling me that the Daytime Emmy's, that actually went up?
Yeah. In fact, The Daytime Emmy's were the only major award show to show year-over-year audience growth, from last year to this year. Part of that I think is because we're no longer on television how we traditionally did it.
For many years, Daytime Emmy's were ironically, on in Prime Time rotating on different networks, same way as the Prime Time Emmy's are. Several years ago, owing largely to the fact that daytime programming itself had changed, fewer soap operas in particular, the Daytime Emmy's were not renewed to be carried on Prime Time television, network television the moved to [inaudible 00:04:32] for few years and then for the last two years have been streaming and I think that transition was certainly precipitated by the changing trends of television. More people watching streaming, move people watching DVR, more people entering the work force who would normally be home watching daytime television.
That's what I was going to say, TV has changed drastically. [crosstalk 00:05:01].
Right, 'cause I was gonna say TV has changed so drastically. When I think, I was on a series. Three networks, everything was network. I am old enough to remember when television shows that were on cable TV got nominated, they had to get an ACE award because you had to get a cable TV award, because if you were HBO, things like Netflix didn't exist yet, but things that were on cable weren't considered real TV and now you look and all of the SAG awards, all of the Emmy's, it's all the cable stuff, it's all Netflix and Amazon and HBO, they're all swamping the Emmy's, it's all the networks can do to get a foot in. It's just completely shifted and then the number of people who say, "Well I don't watch TV, I watch the streaming". The new thing now with a show is when a show on? I don't know, what do you mean when is it on? It's always on. TV is just drastically just become a whole other thing and how do the Emmy's and the whole Academy navigate this? It's changing every few months now.
It's interesting. We still call them the Prime Time Emmy's and the Daytime Emmy's, but even those names are based on that old construct because they are tied to the time of time shows air and as you note, shows don't have an airtime. Even those that are on traditional linear television, a lot of the audience are watching it on their DVRs several days later or they're watching them streaming from the networks on apps and services like Hulu. If you look at the Prime Time Emmy's, for example, that are given by our sister academy on the west coast, they this year just released their nominees last week and Netflix was the number one most nominated network.
Breaking the juggernaut on HBO of the last 18 years. For our Daytime Emmy's this year, CBS was the most nominated network, but they were followed close behind by Netflix and Amazon. The Daytime Emmy's were actually the first of the major awards programs to recognize digital achievement. We were awarding and nominating YouTube over a decade ago.
Right, nobody, that's right. A lot of people, if you don't know. Yes, you can get an Emmy for a YouTube show. They recognize that. They have made that jump.
Absolutely and part of it is that when you look at the various academies, you get National Academy of Television, Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, the Oscars, the National Recording Academy that do the Grammy's. When each of these academies were formed, what they were honoring was really defined by the technology. We're going to have a TV academy, we're going to have a film academy, we're going to have a music academy. These were all completely different tangible products. TV was what I watched on the box in the living room. Film was what I went to a movie theater and saw on the big screen. Music came on a record.
The talent was separate. You didn't see, the actors were separate. Actors who did television didn't do movies. People who did movies didn't do television. There was a wall and when you talk about technology, for a lot of people don't realize, you hear about the Screen Actors Guild and if you're an actor you know that there used to be AFTRA and SAG is two different things. The American Federation Television Radio Artists, but when I was growing up SAG and AFTRA were very, very separate because these shows were filmed on the film, and these shows were filmed on video. This was actually a real designation that even though SAG was supposed to be movies and AFTRA is supposed to be TV, well Little House on the Prairie and many other TV shows were filmed on Panavision, on film, so they were SAG.
Literally the only difference became was your show on film or video. I remember even as a kid I said, that is the silliest reason to have two separate unions I can think of. You mean, if a different thing is in the camera and I'm doing the same thing. That was a real thing back then. Now it's like find some film. That's the same thing with TV. I remember when Daytime was traditionally women who stayed home to take care of the kids and they watched soap operas, that's what was happening. Everyone I know now who watches soap operas, they go to work, they tape, it's on the TiVo and they come home in the evening and watch a soap opera. That's when people watch soaps.
That's why you have these new digital only soaps like Lady of the Lake and the Bay and the others that are able to go head to head with the networks because they're being consumed the same way. Those technologies I talked about, television, film, the record that were so distinct a generation ago, all of that is now consumed through the same device. I can do all three on my iPhone.
It's all on my phone.
There is still something that draws the difference. When I'm holding my iPhone, I know when I'm watching a movie. I intrinsically can tell when I'm listening to music and I know when I'm watching a TV show. I think that speaks to the fact that the reality is these terms, movie, TV, records aren't as much about the technology anymore as the way they tell stories and how those stories make us feel. So, that does cause complexity now when we're all awarding people in different spaces and Netflix and Amazon competing in everyone's competitions.
The audience tends to sort that out because the audience knows whether what they're looking at is what makes them feel like they're watching a TV show or a movie or listening to a record.
They know. It's true. They say well no this is a movie that is on HBO, this is a TV show on my Netflix. They do. That's the thing, it's a new definition. The definition of when it is on or what format it's in is now completely gone, been blown out of the water. It's now the audience decide this is a TV show. It could be on YouTube, it could be on a phone. Of course, I don't like watching things so much on my phone, it's small. I do like the fact that I can stream things on my actual television that is regular sized.
That's something that is seeing a shift as well. After many years of the audience aiming for the bigger and bigger screens and we'd see the commercials for okay, now it's the 60 inch, it's the 80 inch and make sure you get the new TV before Superbowl Sunday, when you look at the new audiences that are coming into the marketplace, the millennial viewers, the majority don't own a traditional television. Their principal viewing platform for video content is their cellphone, sometimes a tablet or a laptop.
It's often a laptop. It's a monitor. They don't have a TV, they have a monitor really.
And you're seeing a change where when you were staring on television that was time and date appointment viewing, the family would gather on the couch and watch it together. Now, you're likely to walk into the typical American home and find every member of the family sitting there different corner of the room with their devices and their headphones watching a different program and for one it might be what we'd call daytime, the other might what we call Prime Time, but they are watching them at the same time.
Now this also kind of messes with the whole TV season. I know this is something that with figuring what time, which award season you're in is a thing, but I know for actors too it's driven us crazy. You have the season, you had hiatus, you had summer reruns and you had the show. But now, they shoot a whole block of a show and you binge. Like Stranger Things, that came out on a date and then I watched all eight of them. So when did the season end and begin and when does this episode air and what does it mean anymore? In fact, are we gonna find ourselves saying an episode aired and is that going to be like saying "dial the phone" and we're gonna sound weird because it's not really on the air anymore?
Ironically, I think the old movie term of it premiered, or[crosstalk 00:13:42] is starting to become the more relevant. You're right. The traditional television season ran the 26 episodes if you were comedy, 22 if you were a drama. That had to take you from September to May. You'd have the hiatus in the summer. Cable started to chip away at that, seeing the opportunity to put their premieres in the summer to counter program that lack of content on the broadcast networks. Yearly digital shows started to follow this same format.
Then this concept of the binge watching started to take shape and that was one I don't think programmers fully expected or anticipated and the networks have had a little bit of a harder time adapting to that then the digital platforms which of course didn't have a history to be tied to. Don't have commercial breaks and advertisers and affiliate time slots that they need to hit. Therefore, could really just tailor the show for that audience. So it can be 10 episodes. It can be six episodes. It can be 30 episodes. Whatever the audience is willing to watch and the show creators think is necessary to tell their story. If one episode is 48 minutes and another is an hour two minutes, because that's what it took to tell the story, so be it.
It's not just that the viewing habits have changed, it's also opened doors to change the storytelling habits. The ability for producers and writers to tell their stories in different ways and not be trying to hit those act breaks on the clean 15 minute marks during the show.
Right, you're not limited to we have to make it 22 minutes because it's a half hour show and you can also do mini shows. I was on Life, Interrupted and we had little mini webisodes and then I think ti was Inspiration TV did a thing a while back with Ralph Waite and it was a series and the episodes were two minutes long and then you could go watch a 15 minute thing online after they aired the two minute episode. So episodes, it's like how long is the episode? I don't know, how long would we like it to be?
Mm-hmm (affirmative). That's where the storytelling isn't even limited to what you're seeing during the show itself. Sometimes those webisodes or social videos are giving context or experiences of the characters that are outside of the main ABC plot that you're seeing on the main show and giving more color to their characters and more dimension to their characters to draw the audience in even deeper.
It's like those playing the home game.
And there's a lot of creative things to do around that. I remember a few years ago there was a detective show in Germany where it was a typical crime procedural and it focused on this one detective, but like any of these days we have scenes where they enter the Police station and interact with the other detectives and make little brief mention of the cases they are working on and so on. But if you went on Twitter and Facebook, you actually were following the other detectives.
Follow the other cases.
They left the room and so the show on television was really just where all these characters came together, but one of them had their story unraveling over here, another one had their story developing over here and you could basically tap into this whole world through your phone all day long in real time, not just that hour where you dropped in to catch it on video.
I love that this is happening. It's completely like another planet for people like me who grew up on TV in that era, but I like this because it is extremely creative. How is this impacting the awards? Where are the Emmy's going to go with this because as I said, it's such a long, long, long history of having your Daytime Emmy and your Prime Time Emmy and your Emmy for this and your Emmy for that. Now, how are we going to rework our whole award system to encompass all of this?
That scenario where the audience I think has shifted it for us. We're now, with that shift, coming off television and the growth of digital, a lot of these things have just naturally found a new normal. We rewind five years or even less, three or four years, a lot of premature obituaries were written about the Daytime Emmy's.
Right. Oh yeah, they say no Daytime, there's no Daytime.
Yeah. There's no Daytime. As you noted, the number of soap operas went from the mid-teens down to just four on the air today. Women who were that key demographic were going back into the work force. Ratings were dropping. The Daytime Emmy's were no longer carried on Prime Time television. For a year they had no television home anywhere.
Which definitely sounds like it's over.
Exactly and then every award show seen year to year declines.
Even the Oscars, the ratings go down, it's terrible.
Yes. Oscar ratings when down, Primetime Emmy's went down, Grammy's went down. But then you look at this year's Daytime Emmy's, more entries than ever before, more ticket sales for the ceremony than ever before, more viewers than when it was last on broadcast network television and the only major awards show to see year-over-year growth. That growth in terms of the entries and tickets in particular were largely from these digital platforms. So, it would make sense that if television, now that sort of small "T", what we feel is television, even if we're not seeing it on a traditional box, is migrating to that digital world. That's where that audience is for it and the new audience coming in among millennials, half of them don't even have the traditional television. In many ways having the show on traditional television at a time of day that was disconnected from the people who were actually on television.
So here we have the Daytime Emmy's in Prime Time. So the people who watching on a real TV in the Daytime aren't watching TV and then the people who watch it digitally can't watch it because of the [inaudible 00:20:34]. So, the approach that we are taking now by streaming it across all platforms, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Connect, we were able to connect to where the audience is watching these shows and put it into that stream as opposed to trying to bring them back to an old format that wasn't working anymore. So, this is incredibly exciting for us and shows I think, momentum and a real opportunity for the Academy to go in that direction that the audience is going in.
I know you have more entries than ever before because I'm now a voting member and a I pulled up my, during the nomination portion of the voting, went, oh I only have to watch 167 shows. It's like, what, there's 167 nominees in this category and I looked and I thought okay, I've watched these 40 shows and I've heard of these other 47 and so I was trying to go and then they send me the DVDs and then of course I have all the different platforms. Is that ever going to be a problem 'cause I know it was difficult for me that there are so many shows?
There's no way I'm going to have seen all 167 actors that are up for nomination. I'm pretty diligent in trying to watch at least some of everything so I can say this person was good and try also to nominate people who are note as well known, not nominate obviously the same people over and over again or always getting a nomination, to look for new talent that may be on a show that not everybody is watching, but it's very difficult if there's 167 people in each category. How is that going to impact things? I'm trying to imagine back in the 1970s, 167 people up for an Emmy. No. How does that work.
You're right, in that three network model, you had it a little bit easier because at the end of the day you only had 24 hours per network. There was a natural limit to how much television could be on the air in a given week. As a practical matter, having a lot of entrants is a good problem to have obviously and there's different ways of solving it. Different categories are handled differently in that regard. In the Daytime Emmy's some of those more crowded categories will do multiple rounds of judging, so that some judges get our group cut from 100 down to a smaller group and then another panel of judges gets us down to our nominees so that we're able to break it up a little bit more fairly that way. Fair to the entrants and to the judges.
I think there is also, I want to go back to one note here when we look at why there's this diversity. It is that freedom of not being limited by the time slots anymore and not being limited by that 24 hours per network. That is really bolstering types of programming that perhaps were under represented before. When I was growing up, children's programming was Saturday morning.
That was your choice. If you wanted kid's programming, it was going to be on Saturday morning. Now, ironically, you turn on the networks for the most part, there isn't children's programming on Saturday morning anymore.
Saturday morning kinda sucks now honestly.
Yes. But, you look at Netflix or Amazon.
What is there, there's Nick Jr. and all the Amazon stuff and ten there's all the, I mean literally when you pull up the Netflix it has, here's your little box, there's one whole box, kids. I mean it's just one of the huge, huge independent programs.
And Noggin and CBS Kids.
Sprout, endless, endless networks.
Yeah, Sprout exactly. So, there is so much to choose from now for kids and for parents trying to find good programming for their kids that didn't exist six and a half days of the week before. It's those categories where we've seen the most explosive growth in the last few years on the Daytime Emmy's.
Well now see, there's a good thing. The diversity on programming, the creativity, the kind of shows that I'm now seeing that we just never, never would have gotten on TV. There wasn't room for it and executives would go, I don't know what this is about, and yes, and the roles for women and the roles for people who aren't cookie cutter, regular, perfect little raisins for eyes, gingerbread cut out people. Everybody has a show. There's a show with everybody on it. It's every kind of person the entire width and breadth of humanity is now represented somewhere on a sitcom or a drama. Now I turn on the TV and go, this is great. This is like the real world.
It's the changing dynamics of the industry. When you had the three network environment, there was a certain programming to the lowest common denominator that if one network had a three camera live studio audience sitcom, in general the best bet would be to do the same on your network and split that audience because half of the audience that wanted to see the traditional sitcom was still bigger than the audience for niche genre-ette. Now, however, if you're a Netflix or an Amazon, you can serve all of them because you are not limited to saying I have half an hour, I can only put one thing in this slot. Now, you can put the multi-camera sitcom if you'd like, but if someone in that half hour wants to watch a documentary instead, they can watch that too.
The actors, the performers, different people who would not have been on TV 40 years ago, thank god, are now, thank god, be on TV in just these incredible shows and people being allowed to play interesting characters and do interesting things, that just they never would have had before.
It's not just limited to entertainment programming either. We're about to announce our nominees, for example, for the News and Documentary Emmy's that will be held in October in New York.
Oh, documentaries have exploded.
Yes, because up until a few years ago, 95% of the documentaries that were being released were being released in a few movie houses in New York and LA to qualify for the Oscar, but could not get a screening anywhere else because frankly they didn't put enough butts in seats in the 24 screen multiplex at the mall.
Right, documentaries that was the category at the Oscars that nobody had seen when you watch the Oscars because where do you go see a documentary? Unless you're in Canada. Canadians love documentaries. Canadians would put the documentaries on the TV. Those are the only people watching the documentaries. Now it's great. I can turn on my TV and see a documentary about anything.
We are, I'd say, in a broader golden age of television, but specifically in documentary and nonfiction programming as well in the, turn on Netflix, whatever you want to learn about, there is probably a documentary there. There's another company called Curiosity Stream, which is essentially just a Netflix for documentary material. Some of these are just five minute or 15 minute documentaries or programs just explaining a concept. A whole series of films just different, basic concepts of math and the history of them for example. Or of art or architecture, or technology. This would not have been accessible to a mainstream audience just five years or ten years ago.
It is an improvement. It's just a radical change and now, until fairly recently, you were head of News, Government and Elections at Twitter, which has, I mean obviously, Twitter and Facebook and social media have impacted all of this and how we do awards and everything else. This show we do a whole Facebook livestream too, so this is also on Facebook as well as on UBN. What was, did you leave because it got weird? I just know because I love Twitter, I started going onto Twitter around late 2000s because my book came out 2010 and I noticed all the writers were on Twitter, I still like Twitter, but I have seen Twitter change.
I have seen Twitter be primarily political discourse now and political not what you could even quite call discourse. It's way more that than anything that it was a few years ago. Twitter has gotten fairly crazy. They just had a whole cleansing of the various bots and algorithm fake people there. I didn't lose too many because most of my fans on Twitter were real people, yay. How bizarre was that to be head of News, Government, Elections at Twitter? How did you try to manage that? I look now and I'm thinking that News, Government and Elections at Twitter is kind of chaotic at this point.
Well I left.
You're not there to fix it, okay.
I wish I could. I left at the end of 2016, and I had been at Twitter for six years which is a lifetime in tech dog years.
Yes, very long in that world.
When I joined the company in 2010, fewer than one in five members of Congress even had Twitter accounts. No one in the Cabinet had a Twitter account. The President wasn't on Twitter yet at the time. So, for me in that six years, I think we did build the platform up to being the preeminent platform for news and political discussion in the world. Now the content of that discussion has certainly taken a more negative tone, particularly in the last year or so as it has off of Twitter, I mean society more broadly. Which is the cause and which is the effect is probably a little bit of both.
It's funny, a page from the book of Be Careful What You Wish For, in my job interview for Twitter back in 2010, I was sitting there talking to one of the founders of the company and I asked him, putting aside all these different metrics and measurements and so on and so forth, if there is just one thing, one goal which if we hit that you look at me and say, you did your job, you're done. He said, mind you this is 2010, President of the United States uses Twitter every day to speak directly to the American people.
No, they said they wanted that? That was the thing people said they wanted? Then a lightning bolt struck the building and a voice said, "You are doomed".
I reminded him of that story on a few occasions since then. When you look at President Trump's use of the platform, it really is remarkable and you have to separate how he is using it from the content for a moment. The content is where we tend to get into our political corners and how we interpret it. The fact that the President of the United States can speak directly to the American people and to the world without a filter, where you can hear directly from the President, you can make your voice heard to the President, you can ask questions of the President and not have a single gatekeeper be the one to block that either on the White House staff, in the media or just the technology where you could only get that reach before if the President sat in a studio with a [inaudible 00:33:45].
That is a remarkable change and it brings us back to a kind of [inaudible 00:33:55] connection to our leaders that has never really worked beyond perhaps the city council level because the country is too big to make it work. Now, people can have that one on one connection.
It's kind of crazy. I mean, I've also seen the one where they had a thing where they said whereas people often will block people on Twitter, they've had enough of, they said the President can't really block people because since the account is official and is now officially a government outlet where the President addresses the entire universe, then it becomes a government outlet and you have to have access to your elected officials, so now you can't. It's this whole other universe.
Exactly. The courts have actually found precisely that. That when it comes to the President's Twitter page, because he has chosen to put himself there, he has turned that into a public forum. It needs to be treated legally the same way as if he were a member of Congress and you wanted to walk in to the Capitol building and air your grievances with him there.
You have to be able to get an appointment, come in and be able to do that. I mean, that's the thing. If it was some kind of vanity account, remember when candidates running for office first started popping up on Twitter, they were sort of these pre-packaged little Tweets and sort of press things and photos and mom and apple pie and kind of like little happy stories. They weren't live and if it was that, if it was just little package thing of "Hello, this is a message from the President", well then it wouldn't be the same thing. Because he has said I'm going to make official statements, official binding statements on Twitter, that's now made it like it's the Senate or the Congress that you have to be able to have access to it.
Yes, and it connects with people because they know it's coming from him. If the same things were very clearly being written by staff, people would not respond the same way because it does not have that same authentic connection.
Now that's been a debate, because sometimes they change and people go, is that a staff one? Did somebody write that or did he write that? But then usually it shows up on TV later and says, yes I wrote that.
Exactly, and he has a few staffers that tend to be very good at capturing his voice, but even then he tends to do a lot of himself and when you look at members of Congress who are successful on Twitter, it's much the same way.
They're live, they're on there.
We have been so conditioned, and I think this is the same dynamic you see with television and he'll interact with stars of TV. We've gotten so conditioned over the last century with TV and radio as the dominant media to consume any information or content that that entire world is locked away in this box behind that glass screen. So, of course we feel like our leaders are out of touch because they are this distant thing in the box. The moment we start to recognize their humanity and connect to them as something other than the talking head and feel that we are getting that unvarnished access to them, that winds up being a deeper connection that can be tremendously motivating. Whether it is to drive you to the polls or to tune into a show.
Shonda Rhimes the creator of Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and other shows. She'll you, Scandal, which was a mega hit on CBC she credits a lot of that to social media because the cast would sit on Twitter and Facebook during the show and engage with the audience.
So now, instead of sitting back on the couch and passively watching this show, you're now leaning forward over your phone directly engaging with the cast and having a shared experience. [inaudible 00:38:23] will tell you the same thing about The Voice.
We've done that with reruns of Little House, they've had events where they've had today's episode of Little House is being rerun and me and cast members get on and live tweet the episode from 40 years ago. You would be amazed at the people who log on for this. That's where things, like when I logged on as a writer in 2010, I noticed that all the authors were going on Twitter and that's where I was meeting all the other writers and people would come to my book signing, I'd say how many people at this book signing heard about where to come on Twitter and the whole room raises their hand. That's when I went, oh this is how you do this. It became a thing.
Now, around that time and much more so now, when you go to a publisher with a book they ask you, are you on Twitter and how many followers? Are you on Instagram? Are you on Facebook? Are you reaching out to these people? They're now having classes at the Screen Actors Guild and at the Conservatory where members can come free and learn how to do their social media. They said, okay it's not that the studio is necessarily going to say "We're hiring this person because they have a million followers on Twitter and you don't", but if it's a tie, if they like both of you equally for the role and one of you isn't on social media at all and the other has thousands of followers that they can go to and say "Watch this show", that's who they're gonna take.
And this is think marks a fascinating shift in the power dynamic of Hollywood, of journalism in that it puts more of the power back in the hands of the performers and of the writers. On the news side, I'd say a return of the by line again for the entertainment side. Performers now bringing their own audience so it's not desperately hoping to get the big network shows so the network brings the audience to see you, now the networks are trying to get you because of the audience you can bring to them.
How do we deal with, on the negative side, how do we deal with craziness? I'm friends with William Shatner on Twitter and he's been involved in these Mad Hatters tea party arguments with fans. He seems to enjoy going in circular arguments with these people, but it's kind of like what is going on? On the one hand it's great. I can reach out to my fans, I'm very lucky, Little House fans tend to be very nice people. But there's these situations where celebrities are engaging with their fans and something goes wrong. If it was a normal fan meet and greet and you had one person who was having an issue and you just say "Well, okay, you need to leave now." Suddenly you have thousands of people that you can't see, yelling at you. How do we get through this, it's kind of the Wild, Wild West. How do we do this that this marvelous thing where we can reach out to people, when it goes wrong and suddenly people are just throwing dishes on Twitter, what do we do?
First of all, I say as a lifelong Star Trek fan who always thought the time loop episodes were the most engaging, seeing Captain Kirk in a circular argument is entertaining. On the other side, you are absolutely right and there are pros and cons to it. The same idea where when one person would stand up in a meet and greet or a politician's town hall, they'd be the one to get an answer to your question and maybe a few dozen other people would hear it. Now, every one gets that opportunity even if they can't make it to San Diego for ComiCon for example. When you enlarge that pool of people, then you do invite some of the challenges. I think the advice I've given to candidates and performers and journalists is to remember a few things.
Number one, everyone has a pretty equal voice on the platform. So, you have supporters there as well. Very often those supporters will rally to your defense and so, let them duke it out while you try to stay above the fray.
With Prairie fans, that's definitely the case. If people are mean to me there's so many Prairie fans who are "No, shut up, leave her alone".
I'll tell you, I have a former colleague down in Washington who has actually live tweeted a number of Prairie episodes and will be so excited to hear we spoke about it.
We must hook up on Twitter and Instagram and what not with them, yes.
Fantastic. The other thing I would say is to keep in mind particularly on Twitter, you see when someone is talking about you because Twitter has that notification stream and when someone mentions you it shows up there. For the typical user, they see only the people they're following or who are mentioning them. So what might feel like a hundred people saying nasty things about you because they're showing up in your notifications, doesn't necessarily mean anyone else is seeing those tweets but you.
You may be having an argument in a broom closet. You're having this terrible fight with someone and everyone else is going "What? We have no idea that you're even there."
Exactly because the algorithm is designed to tell you a tree fell in the forest even if there was no one else around. So you often see accounts with just one or two followers or [inaudible 00:44:26] counts which make it feel awful when you are the target of it. I know it's not a lot of comfort, but if it helps at all, it is true, recognize these people do not have an audience per se. Twitter algorithms, as the Facebook ones are pretty good at tamping those down and for those who are reaching a real audience, they also tend to be reaching your supporters who will stand up and defend you.
I have noticed for other celebrities that a lot of the people who say particularly negative things, when I go to look I see that they have like 40 people. I'm like, okay, but it is weird. I tend not to get into screaming matches with people on Twitter or Facebook because I don't know this person. Yell at a stranger. Then I also didn't know if they're real. I thought that seems like an odd way to exert my energy, yelling and screaming at an invisible person I do not know, who may or may not in fact exist.
And whose main motivation is often to get you to yell and scream because everyone of those accounts is the TMZ camera at the airport. TMZ backing them up. The goal is to get you to lose your cool. That's where, now this doesn't mean to be afraid or not engage with people, but you reward meaningful conversation. When people ask you a question, answer it. Even if people are critical, engage in the criticism and if they are respectful about it, be respectful in return so no one can say you are ducking it. Now, that probably applies more to those who engage in political debate than simply talking about television or so on, but can even see certain creative choices there where someone's piling on a Director for, why did they do this in that movie? I think more should say "Hey, let me show you some of the other drafts we were playing with and why we settled on this and made this choice."
I think what happens is people tend to get defensive as opposed to trying to find that voice in the crowd that disagrees, but is willing to have a discussion. You haven't seen many examples, I think, of creators or entertainers who have been criticized for a creative choice. Why did you do that, write it that way, kill that character? What have you. If those who were the target of that criticism were to say, "Let me walk you through the creative process and how we reached that point", I think you would find an audience who would find that tremendously engaging and would reward it accordingly.
Well yeah, you'd have all the normal people would find it interesting and would hop on the feed. Okay, clearly I see why you can't be at Twitter anymore, you make far too much sense. You're far to logical and calm and normal to be on Twitter. I'm glad now you're at the Academy of Television, Arts and Sciences. We are going to wrap up, but this is amazing. So where can we watch the Emmy's and when now, when we want to watch the Daytime Emmy's?
So, the next Daytime Emmy's will be live from Pasadena. We didn't announce the date yet, but from Pasadena. The News and Documentary Emmy's are coming up October 1. Those you can all watch streaming at emmyonline.tv and then the Prime Time Emmy awards which are from our sister academy on the west coast, are coming up in September on NBC.
All right and soon it's going to be time to vote for the ones who made the final cut of the nominees and I get to go online and I get to log in and look at the things and say yes and pick people, so this is all very exciting.
So people can read more about you on all of these platforms over at the NATA site and everything. As I said you make far too much sense to be in entertainment or on Twitter. We should have you come on again.
I'd be happy to and until then you can follow us @theemmys or me @adams
Excellent and by all means tell your friend to hit me up on Twitter and I'll introduce him to Shatner or something.
Fantastic. Alison, thank you so much.
Thank you, thank you very much. This has been the Alison Arngrim show with Alison Arngrim, thank you.