Monday, June 22, 2015

When Live Isn't Live

I watch "Live With Kelly and Michael" pretty much every day.  I've been watching it since it was "Live With Regis Philbin" with breaks for years before the DVR, or years where I could only watch the host chat at the start before heading to work. So, I know quite a few things about how the show works.  And while generally it airs live-ish in my market, I know how to spot when they pre-taped a show, or pre-taped the start and pasted in some repeat interviews.  Now you used to be able to tell if a celebrity appeared on "Good Morning America" and then had a different outfit for "Live", but nowadays most celebrities are followed around by a stylist with a bag of clothes so that they can do six, seven, who knows how many shows in a single day that may air that day, later that night, or in different times based on where that show appears in each market, or two weeks from now, depending on scheduling, and apparently you spotting that cute blue dress again - horror.
Hair changes are another clue.  Certainly mid show, or at a commercial break, someone's hair could be touched up, and look a little different than it did before.  It rarely changes length or color at the commercial break, without the assistance of additional time.  Sometimes the outfits also change in pre-taped segments, if they didn't know at the time, which show that was going to be put into. 
But where it often becomes the most obvious, is during the host chat.  There is a particular effort in pre-taped host chats to not reference time too specifically.  They rarely talk about what they did that night.  They rarely talk about events in the news.  They will often chat about fluffy news articles, like the latest study on happiness, and certainly, given the short news cycle, you can tell when that story hit all the other shows (or your social media feed).  But also, when there is a world event that everyone else is commenting on, and it goes unremarked on in the show. 
Now, all of this is not a knock, or even a suggestion that TV hosts (and crews) don't deserve vacations.  More of an observation.  Sometimes it's nice to have one place on the dial where that thing is not being spoken of.  Sometimes it seems weird.  Especially if they not only ignore it, but end up mentioning something that would have normally garnered at least a passing reference (say discussing living in Charleston right now). 
Social media can be like that too. Plenty of people, and since I tend to hang with a more writerly crew on a lot of my social media, I see it with authors, but they are not the only ones.  People will often pre-post items (goodness knows, I pre-write blog posts) or write them and schedule them to post later while they are at their day job, or tending to other things, so they can reach out to people who do their social media during the day.  And all of that can be fine.  But, sometimes that tweet shows up in the middle of a wave of reaction to something else.  And that can be fine.  It can be nice to see a cute tweet about books or kittens in the middle of something else.  But sometimes it can seem, well, a little tone deaf. So, the challenge is how to keep an eye on what you social media looks like.  If you can't check in when it posts, at least peak back, and if it turns out you were posting about something that in retrospect seems out of touch, you can apologize and work to do better.  Or you can let your followers know, sometimes I pre-schedule things.  Chances are, they already know.

Edited for spelling.