Once upon a time, the mere mention of Oprah Winfrey’s name conjured up eyeballs and dollar signs.
My how times have changed.
Winfrey ruled daytime television for decades before she decided to move her successful formula of chatty self-help and infotainment to cable earlier this year. After only two months in existence, Oprah’s heavily hyped network, OWN, attracted even fewer viewers than the programming it replaced. Some six months later, Winfrey has disposed of the network’s CEO, putting herself in charge; traffic on her flagship website, Oprah.com, plummeted after her daytime talk show ended in May; and soap opera fans — who helped turn ‘Oprah’ into a household word — now view her as a traitor because Winfrey refused to consider airing daytime dramas on her new network. Social media sites, especially Facebook, exploded with negative comments after Winfrey made that last decision.
Trying to make a turn-around, Winfrey will participate in a live-streamed video interview with Facebook next week.
No doubt this is an opportunity for the media mogul — an active Facebook user with nearly 6.3 million fans who have “liked” her official page — to learn ways to better leverage her brand with the power of new media.
In addition to the interview, the media mogul will meet with tech savvy individuals to discuss social media and her network, including her website. She will also sit down with tech media executives, including Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, to learn as much as she can about the future of the web and how best to harness social media, according to a Fox News report.
It is nice that Winfrey will meet with the tech media elite, but perhaps she ought to start with daytime fans who lobbied the former daytime diva earlier this year to diversify program offerings on her network. Fans like a commenter who goes by the name, BethRestless Beth, who wanted Winfrey to air soaps on OWN: “Perhaps [the Facebook interview] is an opportunity to let her know how offended I was by her speech to us that she would not even consider daytime dramas. I have never felt the same about her.”
Perhaps being more responsive to your audience the old-fashioned way — and giving them some of what they want along with some of what you think they need — still works these days.
Oprah will appear on Facebook Sept. 8, 2011 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.