This episode of Seinfeld (called The Pitch) was broadcast on September 16, 1992. Yes, as a Seinfeld fanatic, I sometimes remember such trivial details about my favorite episodes.
I could find only the initial conversation between Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza at Monks, their usual meeting place, on YouTube. And couldn’t find the other, more pertinent video (where Jerry and George pitch the idea to NBC executives). But, let me start.
The scene at the Monks where George gets and explains his idea about a TV show ‘about nothing’.
And then, here are the dialogs of the scene where they pitch the idea on the TV show about nothing, to NBC executives.
(NBC) RUSSELL: So, what have you two come up with?
JERRY: Well, we’ve thought about this in a variety of ways. But the basic idea is I will play myself-
GEORGE: (Interrupting) May I?
JERRY: Go ahead.
GEORGE: I think I can sum up the show for you with one word: NOTHING.
(NBC) RUSSELL: Nothing?
GEORGE: (Smiling) Nothing.
(NBC) RUSSELL: (Unimpressed) What does that mean?
GEORGE: The show is about nothing.
JERRY: (To George) Well, it’s not about nothing.
GEORGE: (To Jerry) No, it’s about nothing.
JERRY: Well, maybe in philosophy. But, even nothing is something.
(NBC) Susan: What’s the premise?
JERRY: Well, as I was saying, I would play myself, and, as a comedian, living in New York, I have a friend, a neighbor, and an ex-girlfriend, which is all true.
GEORGE: Yeah, but nothing happens on the show. You see, it’s just like life. You know, you eat, you go shopping, you read. You eat, you read, You go shopping.
(NBC) RUSSELL: You read? You read on the show?
JERRY: Well, I don’t know about the reading.. We didn’t discuss the reading.
(NBC) RUSSELL: All right, tell me, tell me about the stories. What kind of stories?
GEORGE: Oh, no. No stories.
(NBC) RUSSELL: No stories? So, what is it?
GEORGE: (Showing an example) What did you do today?
(NBC) RUSSELL: I got up and came to work.
GEORGE: There’s a show. That’s a show.
(NBC) RUSSELL: (Confused) How is that a show?
JERRY: Well, uh, maybe something happens on the way to work.
GEORGE: No, no, no. Nothing happens.
JERRY: Well, something happens.
(NBC) RUSSELL: Well, why am I watching it?
GEORGE: Because it’s on TV.
(NBC) RUSSELL: Not yet.
It is – obviously – incredibly more funny when you see it, but I’m not going to let the absence of this video (on YouTube) halt my blog post any longer. I have the entire series in multiple formats, on multiple devices, but I’m not going to upload it and risk it being yanked off by NBC either.
So, assuming you did enjoy the scene and the dialogs above, consider this.
Most organizations (at the group level or at the brand level) plan a social media channel (we call this owned media) on Facebook, Twitter or even a blog exactly like how George conjured up the TV show about nothing. The ‘you eat, you go shopping, you read…’ thing he spoke about that ‘happens’ in the show has a corporate equivalent – the company announces something, it does something to its employees, the company wins something, or it hires someone new. In essence, an organization’s content on its owned media channel like blogs, Facebook page or Twitter profile about itself is ‘social media about nothing’.
The glorious exception to that is when you are somebody and not a nobody. If Seinfeld blogs and tweets…now that would be something and definitely not nothing. The corporate equivalent, of course, are brands like Harley Davidson…or Apple. Brands that have built some sort of legendary reputation across many years before they decide to take their seeming nothingness online. Then, even that nothing would be something to a LOT of people!
But, for most brands, they are largely ‘nobody’ and talking about how they do business or about spurts of minor ‘news’ is not social media content. So, don’t bother about putting those content alone up on your owned media properties online. Do that if – if – you have other pieces of content that are not about yourself, but are at the intersection of what you, as an organization, want to say/communicate and what your customers/investors/employees/partners want to read/hear. The point is – consider who your audiences are, on social media and make an honest attempt at being interesting to them. It does not mean you need to dance for them – even making your otherwise staid content interesting (in terms of tone, format or even the language) would be a great start!
Hipster Seinfeld photo via Quick Meme.