Monday, August 13, 2012

The Verbing of NBC

In the midst of the ongoing kerfuffle of NBC's coverage of the 2012 Olympics, a new word was coined. Though Jay Baer probably wasn't the first to use it, he was the first person I heard use it — during his Friday morning keynote speech at Blog Indiana 2012 last week.

The word: NBC'd (or, if you're an apostrophe conservationist, NBCed).

For those of you who haven't been yoked with NBC's delayed coverage of the 2012 Olympic games, here's the problem: NBC was taking the "raw" data of the competition, running it through their editorial and production machine, and then showing it on the air in the United States hours after the fact. And it pissed people off. (Rightly, I believe.)

NBC's assumption was that they know what the US public wants to see from the Olympics, and they took their assumptions, sliced and diced the footage, interspersed it with interviews of Michael Phelps, Michael's parents, and Michael's podiatrist, and tried to serve it up on a silver gold platter.

Meanwhile, people were streaming the Olympics in real time online and following the competition in real time on Twitter, getting the raw data and the complete competition that they wanted.

So the "added value" of NBC's manipulation of Olympic coverage was, to many, no value at all. Or, as Jay Baer put it, NBC was treating the Olympics like a scripted TV show, but people wanted a reality show.

So, NBC'd (or NBCed) refers to controlling and packaging raw information in the way you want before releasing it, while completely disregarding the needs or desires of the people you're packaging it for. It's a 21st-century technological bowdlerization.

I thought it worthwhile to record the word's existence, considering that now that the Olympics are over, this neologism will probably lose its relevance rather quickly. At least until the 2012 Winter Olympics in Sochi.