BumeBox: Twitter and Facebook Chats Aren’t So Bad

By Karen Fratti 

bumeboxflowSometimes it’s best to admit when you’re wrong. After a rant last week about Twitter chats, Jon Fahrner, CEO of BumeBox, reached out to me to tell me that there was in fact “a better way,” something I asked for in my post. That’s what you get for ranting before you research.

BumeBox hosts Q&A’s through social media for major media companies and celebrities, fixing most of the problems I have with them. They filter through the spam and nonsense and organize the questions and answers chronologically and together so you’re not clicking through individual tweets to find out why Anna Paquin just said “YES!” You can see a a transcript of some recent chats here and here. Tell me more, Fahrner:

On the backend, what a lot of us aren’t aware of because we’re all users, is that celebrities get bombarded with these questions and it’s a really stressful experience for them. Imagine if 10,000 people texted you at the same time and they’re all sitting there waiting for an answer. How would you even begin to know who to address? So we created a moderation tool on the backend that allows for the celebrities to drive down more high value questions, it allows them to search the questions, or see when someone with a large followers comes in , so their answers come in more of a steady cadence.

Facebook has been getting into the Q&A game, too, and BumeBox was recently selected to use their management tools to optimize chats on that platform, as well. Same idea, same filtering, same backend for the artists and celebs and television show casts. Fahrner addressed some of my other burning questions about Q&A’s, too, like “what’s the point anyway?” Apparently, it’s sort of in our pop culture DNA: 

It’s an uncomplicated way to connect the famous person with fans. You can create awareness around the content, but when they’re able to address the fanbase, its really familiar to people. Something like 45% of the longest running television shows incorporate Q&A — “American Idol,” talkshows, “Jimmy Kimmel.”  When the fanbase is able to do that it’s a really interesting and authentic thing.

BumeBox Facebook backend

BumeBox Facebook backend

Media companies and celebrities see their “likes” and Twitter followers grow sometimes 100% during these live-events, so it’s worth it all around.

It’s only going to get more interactive in the coming year. Farhner says they’re working on broadcasting Q&A’s — we’re all used to seeing tweets on the screen, but what if you could chat with the cast about the show during the show, on the show. It wouldn’t work for everything, says Fahrner. But I can already see #AskShonda scrolling through my “Scandal” broadcast, can’t you?

Another problem BumeBox hopes to address is awareness of Q&A’s for other, more mainstream demographics:

Theres a lot of attention about logged in and logged out users on Facebook and Twitter. People ask me all the time — ‘well, how would I know about this? If I knew that Prince was doing a Q&A I would hop on in a heartbeat.’ So I think we see it as a way to bring in that mainstream, especially on Twitter, so a really new way to get fans on Twitter would be to create more awareness around [the chats].

Consider me schooled, BumeBox. You can follow them @BumeBox.