Creative Strategies

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Jon & Kate Effect

Let me start by saying this is not a gossip post. It's a brief look at the effect Reality TV can have on, shall we say. . . Real Life relationships.

The use of television, print and social media, along with one willing and one non-willing subjects have destroyed a marriage. The "demise" of Jon & Kate Gosselin's marriage has been well documented. What I don't think has been discussed is the critique or misuse of some powerful tools and the effect this event may have on other couples.

In the June 22nd episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8, Jon discusses his distaste with the Paparazzi that follows him around and he jokes that people don't need to know what he's eating for lunch. I think many people would agree with Jon. However, one only needs to look at their Facebook newsfeed to see a smattering of status updates regarding people's eating habits. Some people like to share and others like to find out.

When a tool such as Twitter or Facebook are being used to broadcast random trivia facts about reality stars, I don't believe the sites are being used to their potential. They have the power to reach vast audiences and we're talking about what people eat. Now if the status is updated by a chef, then I would argue that the tool is venturing into Knowledge Management and starting to spread ideas. If I didn't know what to cook for dinner, but saw a suggestion from a chef on Facebook, it might make me want to try cooking that dish that night. If I get a Twitter update saying Jon Gosselin got a tofu burger from some bistro, I might not be so inclined to go cook a tofu burger that night. Especially if I don't like Jon.

Which brings us to my next tie in. . . with all of this coverage and people discussing the couple's every move, people are taking sides. So think Jon is telling the truth and others think he's a lying. . . um, badguy, and Kate is a saint. When two people in a relationship are getting their information from different sources there are two things they can do. One, they can share that information, digest it and discuss what they think is going on to come to a concensus of their feelings. Or two, they can not share the information and end up with opposing views that then create a rift in their own relationship.

So as birth rates tend to increase in towns that have blizzards during winter, will the Jon & Kate Effect cause a rash of breakups by people getting their information from different sources/angles and taking sides?

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