On Monday June 8, WWE passed a half billion social media followers. The sun rose and set pretty much on time on Monday June 8 as well. In other words, pro wrestling’s largest company in the world reached a milestone with this stat and it should be bigger news. But it’s not.
[adinserter block=”1″]We’re constantly reminded of WWE’s presence on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and every other app that can hold all their stars and hype. We see it when Raw and SmackDown comes back from commercial. We hear Michael Cole talk about it. We see pics posted online during the broadcasts and we see an edited Twitter feed on the bottom of the screen.
WWE has covered it so much that it’s become their single biggest talking point next to the network. And half a billion is a big number, with lots of zeroes. Put all of that together and we should be knocked out. You can be sure the company wants us to be.
The problem is it’s become old news. We’ve heard about WWE’s social media status for so long now that it’s destroyed any impact the announcement should have had. But WWE is committed to pushing the issue and promoting its online presence.
Why is that? Why would a company that lives and dies by the money coming in from live events and merchandise sales care about what any fan could ever possibly have to say online? The truth is it doesn’t. But don’t tell them you know that.
WWE wants you to keep going along with the scam. They want you to believe you have a voice, that what you say matters and that you can actually book matches from the comfort of your recliner. The more you believe, the more you will buy in and the more their product will get over.
And it’s working so well that fans actually believe WWE is listening to them. Best scam ever.
The truth behind all the social media frenzy is that WWE’s trying to embrace current trends. We live in a fully connected online world, where news is instantaneous and entertainment is always there at your fingertips. Many of those fingertips belong to WWE’s target demographic, that live on their cell phones 24/7.
Each one of those hits, each one of those tweets and each one of those downloads, represents a potential ticket sale. Putting the network in the hands of customers is opening the door to putting a T-Shirt on their backs. When all of that is taken into consideration, how could Vince McMahon’s company not want to be completely immersed in as much technology as humanly possible?
So yes, it makes sense and no we should not be all that surprised by it. However, knowing does not mean its working. How successful is WWE on social media when it comes to putting more eyes on the product? Is it truly putting more butts in the seats? Or is it all background noise for fans that already follow the company and may or may not actually attend live events?
The fact is WWE has always pursued as many avenues as possible to get exposure. It’s smart business to do so and it’s a method that put Vince light years ahead of any competition he’s ever had. He was the first one to take the business beyond regional programming and that move ultimately ensured WWE would survive beyond everyone else.
Vince is obsessed with WWE’s crossover into pop culture and he always has been. What once seemed like an odd fit to many wrestling purists and to people outside the industry has now become the norm and it’s something we see everyday. Bombarding the internet with as much content as possible is the next logical step of McMahon’s vision.
But is it working and more importantly, do fans really care? When Triple H goes on live television and blasts fans for speaking up online, is that being done in character or is it truly a jab by WWE at its customers? Are fans really being criticized for speaking up when they’re encouraged to do so in the first place or is all of that just a friendly work, meant to draw heat? Is that even necessary?
[adinserter block=”2″]A lot of fans use WWE’s social media to vent, there’s no denying that. But a good number of fans just want a better show. Criticisms spoken are not out of hate or contempt, they’re spoken out of a desire to see the product be as good as it can be, and to live up to the standard that WWE has set in the past.
Like it or not, wrestling fans are the lifeblood of any promotion and as such, they should be given a voice. WWE has provided the platform for that voice on social media and though they genuinely seem to want it, it’s become so repetitive that it’s lost much of its effectiveness. Unfortunately, it may never be that important again.
Half a billion. It sure is a big number.