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The Misguided WWE Obsession With Twitter

wwe twitterDid you know that David Otunga is trending on Twitter? Did you know that the WWE has more followers than Pepsi and Microsoft? Did you know that the WWE is obsessed with Twitter? If not, just listen to RAW for five minutes and you’ll quickly get the idea.

I tuned in and out of RAW this past Monday during the Monday Night Football game and every time, someone was talking about Twitter. Whether it was a Twitter graphic, Michael Cole talking about tweeting pictures, or the minute by minute update about what WWE topic is trending, I heard Twitter talk every time I peeked in, no matter how random it was.

It was overkill and beyond the point of annoying, and remember I was just tuning in randomly every ten minutes or so. I can’t imagine the amount of Twitter nausea that the regular RAW viewers endured who watched two full hours of the show. My partner Jeff Peck and I used to rag on TNA Wrestling president Dixie Carter for her obsession with Twitter on the Still Real to Us podcast but this is just beyond ridiculous.

Not only do the WWE have nothing to gain with their endless shilling of Twitter, they are actually losing money by doing it. Think about it. I don’t have exact numbers but I would guess that about 50% of RAW contained a Twitter mention. At one point I tuned in to a Divas match and instead of talking about the stars in the ring, Michael Cole is rambling about some picture he sent to J.R. on Twitter. So here you have a prime example of minutes wasted that could be used getting your talent, storylines, or pay per views over, spent shilling Twitter. It just makes zero sense…and it is obnoxious!

If the WWE were smart, they would be spending their time trying to encourage people to go to your website. Why send your fans to Twitter to see Cole’s picture, send them to the website where they can learn about the product, read more stories, buy tickets to live events, generate ad/affiliate revenue, shop for WWE swag, or make some kind of emotional attachment to the upcoming pay per view. None of that is gained by sending your fans to Twitter, but hey, you have more followers than Pepsi!

I posed this question ironically enough, on Twitter. I asked why the WWE are constantly shilling Twitter when they make no money off of it. The number one response I got from WWE defenders was that the WWE is getting ratings. Getting ratings? Let’s look at that defense.

How in the world are the WWE getting ratings by sending the eyes who are watching their show, away from it, to Twitter? I find it near impossible to believe that anyone who isn’t already watching RAW is all of the suddenly going to tune in because they see David Otunga or Dolph Ziggler trending on the right hand side of Twitter. Quite frankly, if they aren’t hardcore fans they probably don’t even know who those guys are, and once they see they are WWE wrestlers, will probably move on with their night. I don’t buy for one minute that seeing someone trending will all of the suddenly motivate someone to tune into RAW. Not for a second!

If all of the sudden business started to peak after the shameless Twitter shills I could get it. However, business is down across the board. Pay per view buyrates and ratings are down, so what is the payoff here? The idea a company that is losing eyes would encourage the eyes that are on their product to start looking elsewhere in the middle of a show is almost unfathomable.

Additionally, from an internal viewpoint Twitter has been nothing more than a nuisance to the WWE. Whether it was Gail Kim mocking her employers (while under WWE contract), Matt Hardy encouraging fans to watch TNA (while under a WWE contract), Michael Cole using a gay slur on in a post, Rosa Mendes telling A.J. to go on a diet, John Cena criticizing the booking, Jim Ross telling people he’d rather be somewhere else than RAW, Heath Slater’s recent manifesto, and questionable Joey Styles tweets to name a few, Twitter has been nothing but a headache internally for the WWE.

Even funnier is that the WWE have totally misread what trending on Twitter is all about. Check out this explanation about how and why something trends on Twitter.

A topic is said to be “trending”on Twitter when users are tweeting about the topic’s keyword much more frequently than they usually do. Trending has nothing to do with the prevailing frequency of a topic. Rather, a trending topic is a keyword that suddenly increases in frequency of use. Twitter’s proprietary algorithm for determining trending topics is a matter of much private research and speculation.

Think about that for a second. Of course David Otunga may be trending on Twitter for that particular second if he is on television. It does NOT mean that he is the most talked about topic or trend on Twitter. In other words, there is nothing impressive at all about a WWE superstar trending on Twitter at the exact time he or she is on television. It does not mean that more people are interested in David Otunga than the World Series, Jersey Shore, Pepsi, etc. They don’t even understand what they are tirelessly shilling for two hours!

I started to think more about it and wondered exactly what the point of this new WWE obsession with Twitter is all about. It would be one thing if they were making money off of it, but they are spending well over 50% of their commentary on Monday nights sending people to a website that they have no financial interest in. So what gives?

The obvious answer here is that it is nothing more than a desperate attempt to be relevant in popular culture. It reminds me of every teenage movie or chick flick where you have the school outcast doing anything to be a part of the “cool crowd.” That is exactly what is going on here and for a guy that is regarded as a “genius”, I just don’t understand why Vince McMahon is wasting all of this energy in spite of promoting his product.

Some genius.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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