Shark Week: Taking a Bite Out of Social Media

First of all, please excuse the corny title.  But I…I just…I couldn’t stop myself.  But it’s that time of year again, it’s Shark Week.  And 7 days of TV programming doesn’t even begin to cover the kinds of shark-themed content being shared this week.  Between Shark Week’s social media campaign and other shark content creators taking advantage of the public’s current obsession with sharks, the event’s social media footprint will be bigger than any shark you see on TV.

Shark Week’s fierce social media campaign was developed because it was frequently discussed and trending on Twitter in the past, so they decided to step it up and take advantage of what they had going for them.  The campaign included:

  • user-generated ad contest where the top 2 videos were shown during Shark Week
  • co-viewing through the Shark Week website and apps for iPhone and iPad, all of which aggregate social media conversations and offer extra content
  • Twitter trivia contest
  • GetGlue sticker campaign featuring Lady Gaga’s “Teeth”
  • episodes available in iTunes
  • merchandise and apparel

But of course, social media is about discussion and conversation; that campaign is merely one side of the conversation.  The conversation also includes fans/viewers and other brands.  Because of Discovery, everyone cares about sharks at least a little bit more this week than any other week of the year (except maybe their beach week!).

If you don’t think that’s true, maybe my own story will help persuade you.  I never watched the Discovery channel, or really any programming besides sitcoms, for the most part.  I actually only knew what Shark Week was because of social media.  I’d seen friends talking about it on Facebook.  For a few more years, I still had no interest in watching it, but enjoyed being filled in on the coolest shark facts and stuff from Twitter.  But this year, I’ve been obsessed!  Who can say it’s not because of the hype from the social media campaign?  Being obsessed with social media like I am, I’d like to believe it did have something to do with it.

But even on top of content from the brand and the fans, there are other brands taking advantage of everyone’s fish frenzy this week.  This article from Mashable features other forms of shark-themed digital entertainment, from an app featuring a talkative and ticklish shark to games to live webcam broadcasts from aquarium tanks.

If you’ve been watching Shark Week, think about it: has social media/internet enhanced your viewing?  If so, how?

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Brittany is a recent graduate of the University of Delaware, residing in Newark, DE. She enjoys blogging about all things social media and tweets at @bberg1010