While most of the tweets that turned up on our feed last night were about the #Grammys, I remember one in particular from my (imaginary) friend @Oprah that was not: “Every 1 who can please turn to OWN especially if u have a Neilsen box.” Because we’re (imaginary) friends, I took a quick look and remember thinking, “Hey, now, that’s a pretty strange tweet.” Then I quickly returned to the Grammys. Bruno Mars!!
Some fans and the Nielsen company weren’t quite as dismissive as we were. Followers called the tweet “desperate” and “unethical.” After a discussion with Nielsen, Oprah has deleted the message and issued a statement apologizing for any offense caused. Nielsen will make a note of “possible biasing effect” next to the ratings for that episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter.
It’s no secret that OWN has struggled. But everyone, even the mighty Oprah Winfrey, must be careful about how they use promotional muscle to turn things around. These days, particularly with social media, it’s far too easy to overstep.