While Conan O’Brien is best known for being a comedian, he has also just been through the most traumatic time of his career. Having departed the NBC network and The Tonight Show, he is currently on a cross-country comedy tour known as “The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On Television Tour”, and it seems this change in his life has definitely impacted his impressions on the future of old and new media.
(To be fair, there is “saucy” language in the video)
On May 5th, Mr. O’Brien stopped by the Google headquarters and had a 45 minute talk with “the Googlers” (or the “G-Men” as he feels they should be called), and while the video is very much him making jokes about what happened to him, his tour and his new show on TBS, he also intermingles a couple of insights on to what is happening to television, communication, promotion and marketing.
The most interesting part comes a little after the 15 minute mark and runs to a bit after the 21 minute point wherein he talks about how he took to Twitter as a means of communicating with people. It seems that the microblogging service has impacted him on a number of levels, but the most fascinating as how he thinks its making him a better comedy writer, and that it allowed him to not spend one penny on advertising for his tour.
With only 140 characters to get his point across, Mr. O’Brien has found that it makes him go back and look at jokes again, and he finds more concise ways of getting his writing across. Something a lot of writers, myself included, could take away from the service as some of us do have a bad habit of being overly verbose.
As for promotion and marketing opportunities, Mr. O’Brien sent out one tweet about his tour, directing people to his website for more information, and the entire tour sold out within hours. He didn’t have to spend one penny on advertising, didn’t have to go out and do any promotion, and saved himself a ton of money. True, his legion of followers are all fans of his, but it does go to show how some can effectively leverage social media to save expenditures.
The entire talk is peppered with interesting asides of how the Internet played a roll in all the happenings of the past few months, including how the network didn’t understand the ground swell that rose up around him when all of the news was breaking about The Tonight Show. Instead of thinking that it was fans showing their fondness for the ginger-haired comedian, they instead thought it was him behind the movement. Oops.
If your a fan of Mr. O’Brien’s, the video is a must watch, or even if you are just interested in seeing how social media is reshaping old media, it’s worth your time.