So I am like up here at 4:11 AM, trying to understand the angst of the TGDC fan. Did we over promise and under deliver? It definitely appears so. Can we fix things? We will try. There have been some wonderful suggestions - the “message board for fans” idea.. Aargh - how could we miss it!!
But first let me get the facts straight. Here is all the content that has been published in past 24 hours and more - just so we can set the context.
Where is the problem? (a) Is it about the volume of content? (b) Or is it the lack of quality? or (c) Is it the lack of engagement?
There are varied expectations - for some real time means REALTIME. They were possibly looking for the TV experience on web. (Nothing wrong with the expectation - it is just important for us to know that). For some, the 160 character tweets from a rail road crossing, delivered in real time, don’t qualify as engaging content. While some recommend one meaningful post a day, for others, even this long list of posts (above) are not enough (and I am sure many of you have not read all the posts end-to-end).
I think what we are missing is “engagement” - but I may be wrong. Maybe you want to connect more often with the couples, have a conversation and be a part of the journey. Personally I think that is what is missing from the format - and that makes a TGDC fan feel lonely. Over promise and under deliver - possible. Maybe we did not understand that we were in effect setting the wrong expectations while announcing live web-cast.
In an era of ‘cloned’ reality shows and bathetic soaps on Indian TV, when every bit of unreality is portrayed (and consumed) as real - it is interesting to wake up to the fact that the real ‘reality’ is actually kind of boring. “Manufactured reality” is what we seek as consumers, and that is what we get. TGDC (contestants and organizers) may have failed to manufacture reality for the audience, and yes the TRPs will drop - but Team TGDC is not going to push anyone around - neither are we going to pit one against the other. As one of the Jury put it so nicely during an interview - you can’t really have competitive tourism.
The TOP 3 are “on the road” and we really hope they enjoy their journey; and here are some of my humble suggestions to them (just in case they read this post).
a) Stay in touch with to your fans - We will open their comments as often as possible - respond - stay engaged
Just to bring everyone up to speed, on what is happening in the back end, to bring TGDC Drive off to you, as live as it can possibly get. Also maybe you can appreciate, why it is challenging for contestants to grapple with all the new stuff. On a personal level I think they are ALL doing amazing - albeit in their own individual style.
a) TGDC gives users the unique opportunity to blog, photo-blog, video-blog and tweet live from their drive. They are equipped with laptops and high-speed data-cards, GPRS enabled N71 phones, and cameras. The laptops are loaded with popular photo-editing software such as Picasa and also Movie Maker software. The blog interface is via EE.
b) Users have option to blog using SMS. The text message they send is parsed as a blog post and feeds in automatically to the home page. So we have literally built a twitter (or tumbler) look alike, to help people send updates from remote regions where they don’t have GPRS connectivity.
c) Photos and Videos from mobile are one-click upload to Flickr. TGDC site keeps polling this service and fetches any new content and re-purposes the same into a blog-post. So if you see some pictures come in rotated by 90%, it is because the contestants have no control on the photo orientation while uploading to flickr from mobile - and since they dont stop en-route to post-process, the pictures come in as is.
d) The contestants also upload distance covered (reflected on home page) using TEXT SMS. If they don’t update every 2-3 hours, it means they are enjoying their ride. Catch them live anyway on the Google map or click on link below (the map) to get infinite details of their trip and distance covered. You can even check when they overspeed, cruise, stop etc. This functionality is brought to you by AutoTrack.
e) The crew that follows these teams, captures footage but only gets chance to create a clip 3 times a day and they have started uploading on the TGDC channel on YouTube. Follow all the clips on CediaCam or on the YoutTube page.
And for those who think they could have done better than this, we would really appreciate your inputs and help - maybe show us a few examples (from around the world); and please don’t give us examples of those multi-million dollar/month gas guzzling VC funded behemoth, a la Twitter
Next time we can certainly try and do better, if you give us some constructive ideas and suggestions.
P.S. @the tech experts, who are wondering why we are not live video web-casting from moving cars, all I can say is amen. Maybe they need to get a taste of the real indian internet outside their plush cubicles.
Winner Announcements for FANS will be delayed because of the address/phone verification process. All data for ‘lucky draw’ is shipped out to the organizers (and HML), and they will revert to us after they pick the lucky winners and also verify identity. We (web team) will start announcing the names as soon as we have the list on our hands.
Meanwhile, I would also request you to stay engaged with the participants and publish your feedback/comments on the posts of individual teams. Your enthusiasm and support is key to their success. I understand that Day 1 was disappointing for many of you but we got to know late in the day that there were logistics nightmares for some teams and Murphy’s law ruled.
I am sure Day 2 will be lot better as the teams (and the supporting crew) settle into their grooves.
Have a nice weekend.
Early morning email from Anamika with a picture attached.
Guess who was home last night ? A beauty named Mitsubishi Cedia Sports decked up for a special ride…the accessories which came with her were Joe & Nam!! They stayed overnight next door at our apartments in Hiranandani Estate, Thane for taking an early jump start to their Immortal India tour…