Social Media is Ruining Entertainment – Part 3: Online Petitions

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I didn’t think I’d be back to write a Part 3 for my series “Social Media is Ruining Entertainment.” I thought we covered everything when we learned why online reviews are hampering movies and TV shows. I figured that my complaints about “spoiler culture” and social media would be enough to satisfy all of us. And then, AND THEN, “Game of Thrones” wrapped up its final season. As soon as the last episode ended, I turned to my husband and said “People online are going to be MAD”. Boy, was I right. Over 1.6 million people signed a Change.org petition demanding that HBO rewrite and remake season eight of “Game of Thrones.” Because HBO is totally going to spend another cool $90 mil to make sure @jonsnowfan1329487123 gets the ending he wants.

There are instances where online petitions actually have resulted in changes to TV shows or movies. However, they only seem to work under certain circumstances, so let’s look at exactly what those circumstances seem to be. Let’s also look at why social media is STILL ruining entertainment, this time with online petitions.

“Are you not entertained?”

Online petitions are wonderful things. They have enacted amazing changes, not just the world of entertainment, but also politics, human rights and other areas. They grow and spread on social media. I am in support of the idea of online petitions. I even support people’s right to make petitions I disagree with – that’s democracy, even when all we’re talking about is bringing back someone’s favorite TV character from the dead.

There have been several TV shows saved from cancellation by online petitions or online campaigns. A quick Google search showed “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”, “Sense8”, “Timeless”, “The Expanse”, “Nashville”, “Friday Night Lights”, “Jericho”, and “Chuck” were all saved by faithful fans using the internet to make their case to studio executives. There are numerous other examples. Notice anything? All of these shows were either about to be or already canceled. What happened is the mucky-mucks that run these shows saw that a huge fan base existed that wanted the show to keep running. That means, there was MONEY TO BE MADE.

“Money makes the world go round”

As cynical as it may sound, your favorite show will only get saved if higher-ups at studios think it will be profitable. Rewriting and reshooting an entire season of an already-expensive TV show (a la “Game of Thrones”) just isn’t going to happen. It’s too expensive. They could take that same amount of money and invest it in a new show that’s hopefully going to run for eight more seasons and make them even more money.

Furthermore, even if TV execs thought they’d like to redo a show, it can take an entire year (sometimes longer) to rewrite, reshoot, and reedit several episodes of a TV show. Fans might want rewrites on a show right now, but they want them NOW. Will they still have that same passion a year later? Some will, many won’t. Because we’ll all be onto the next big thing, thanks to Facebook and Twitter. Which leads me to…

Use social media for good, not evil

Though social media can spread negativity like wildfire, there are positive uses for it that can really benefit entertainment. Got a favorite actor or actress on a TV show that you think doesn’t get enough screen time? Tweet the creators and tell them! Make gifs of the character that people can share. We all seem to be conditioned to only spread what we don’t like through social media. Let’s turn that idea on its head and spread things we love. Yes, even you, @jonsnowfan1329487123. Even you.

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