Interconnected Media 1, Traditional Media 0

Conan O’Brien’s first week as Tonight Show host actually went pretty well – it was enjoyable and it’s clear that he isn’t giving up on the type of humor that got him to where he is today. And throughout the week, social media had a decent footprint – a nice little hat tip (and a great “YouTwitFace” joke) to his audience. There was one big win that is really interesting to track in terms of the future of mainstream media.

You can give the assist to Conan on this, but I actually think the MVP is in fact Aaron Bleyaert (aka BigBley), who has stuck with Conan O’Brien’s staff on the way out LA from his old position as the now-defunct Late Night Blogger.

Time for the context: last Wednesday afternoon, a blogger makes the catch of the lifetime and whips out the photoshop to prove his point. The art-deco backdrop of Conan O’Brien’s new set happens to have the exact same features as the Nintendo classic, Super Mario World. As these things are apt to do, they ladder up through the Twittersphere, and TV-bloggers, and gaming bloggers decently quickly:

You can go ahead and file this in the “I need an example of blogs making an appearance on television,” because here’s where the story gets great for those of us wondering if traditional media mainstays are paying attention. The story didn’t stop with a joke on a minimally trafficked (now majorly relevant) blog like Serious Lunchbecause Bleyart was paying attention.

On Friday’s show – and this was interestingly hinted at for the last few days on Bleyaert’s Twitter feed – Conan gave a direct mention to the blog and the author’s serendipity find:

I don’t have the facts behind this – but this may be the first ever direct reference to Blogspot in non-Cable, broadcast history. It’s pretty impressive to think that what we write and say as we participate in our own communities online could actually impact and become a bit on a major network show.

Bleyaert’s role may be growing with this event. If he continues to play along with the conversation, it stands to grow the audience of the actual show. Next time you get that question about what social media can do, you can probably save this.

Now, I’ve been watching Conan every night (or on DVR early the next morning). I enjoyed being in on the joke when he finally gave the acknowledgement to the set’s Super Mario allusion. But which part of the audience was I in? The geek-will-inherit subsect? Or is it safe to say that it was not just a lay-up to his small clique of online choruses and, in fact, the audience as a whole would warm up to the reference.

What a tangled-Web we live in, eh?


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