Perusing Gossip Sites for the Greater Good

Okay, I admit it: I’m a junkie for entertainment gossip sites—particularly (I appreciate the snarky humor) and TMZ (it’s like gossip central). But it’s not the posts that usually catch my eye (except for any George Clooney girlfriend pics)—it’s the comments below the post. People never cease to amaze me when it comes to their passion for entertainment and gossip. And now that I’ve heard about the Futures of Entertainment conference coming up at MIT in Cambridge, Mass Nov. 11-12, I don’t feel so bad about taking a quick peak at these sites during work hours.

The premise behind the conference, now in it’s fifth year and spearheaded in part by Peppercom’s Sam Ford, is that is the ways in which people engage with entertainment properties are more active, more passionate and more advanced than what we see anywhere else. “For communicators and marketers, then, understanding the patterns of how people interact with television shows, films, and other entertainment media might help inspire new ways to help companies connect with their customers,” says Ford. “And seeing the challenges, questions, ethical issues and points of tension that arise between media companies and fans can often help companies be better prepared to think about how they manage relationships with their customers and other audiences.”

Panelists will include experts from the U.S., Brazil, India, The Netherlands, Finland, Chile, Mexico and the United Kingdom. The conference will also feature representatives from a range of media companies and publications, from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, The San Jose Mercury-News, Fast Company and Worship Leader Media to Gowalla, Loku, Sesame Workshop and The Leaky Cauldron.

It all sounds very educational—it is at MIT—and entertaining, I’m sure. And now I feel much better about being a fan of gossip sites: it’s all for the greater good of communications and PR News.

–Scott Van Camp

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