How many people does it take to make a nightly talk show? A lot! How many does it take to run a static website and a one-tweet-per-day Twitter feed? Quite a few less, to be honest! But because the former staff of Conan O'Brien's Tonight Show is sitting around with not much to do until September (when the terms of Conan's exit deal permit him to appear on TV again), or at least until his tour begins next week, it seems like most of them have somehow found a way to lend a hand in the host's web strategy, according to a story in today's Times.
Brian Stelter doesn't specify the exact number of people behind Conan's simple website and sporadic tweets. But lines like these kinda make it seem like way more than necessary:
• "Assisted by his executive producer, Jeff Ross, and personal friends, Mr. O’Brien signed up for Twitter in late February."
• "The tour announcement, made on Twitter in early March, was planned days in advance as an experiment of sorts for Mr. O’Brien’s team. Several staff members joined Mr. O’Brien at home when he sent the first message, which said, 'Hey Internet: I’m headed to your town.'"
• "'We didn’t start the fire; we just add a log now and then,' said an employee of Mr. O’Brien’s, who, like three others interviewed for this article, requested anonymity because he did not have permission to speak publicly about Web strategy."
• "Mr. O’Brien’s staff members said they had a vague sense that they should set up a personal site for the comedian, but it happened only through adversity, after Mr. O’Brien rejected NBC’s plan to move Tonight to 12:05 a.m. 'It’s the kind of change that only happens when it’s forced,' said a friend of Mr. O’Brien’s. 'Out of it can come real creativity.'"
• "Mr. O’Brien’s employees simply keep in touch with [Team Coco Facebook group] operators and occasionally add links."
• "But Twitter is only a small part of the Web strategy. Soon TeamCoco.com will add a tour blog by Aaron Bleyaert, who formerly blogged for The Tonight Show site."
We understand that while the rest of us were learning how to use the Internet these past seventeen years, Conan had a daily TV show to put on. But shouldn't somebody at least tell him it's possible to tweet without a spotter? God forbid his plans for a talk show on Fox fall through (the Times says he and the network are in "extensive talks") or he'll have a staff of 50 checking his e-mail and programming his DVR.