Solving the Deep, Dark Mystery of the #DatelineDivas
I love watching how audiences interact with television shows on Twitter. Over the last few months I've noticed a hashtag that seemed to take interactive viewing to the next level. I never would have guessed that the news magazine show Dateline NBC would attract diehard fans swooning over their favorite reporters and live-tweeting the mysteries, but there it was, #DatelineDivas. Fans seems to be interacting with the show in a personal, flirtatious, connected way, and producers and stars like Keith Morrison and Josh Mankiewicz are playing right back.
What or who is behind this unlikely mystery fan group? Are they a network PR-run ambassador program experimenting with best practice engagement tactics, or something else entirely? It was a mystery worthy of a Dateline-style investigation, so I set out to find some answers by talking to Kim Trimble, whom I have met at BlogHer conferences. She seems to be at the center of the social media storm....OR IS SHE?
— Josh Mankiewicz (@JoshMankiewicz) November 13, 2013
DR: So Kim! I've noticed that #DatelineDivas is a hot commodity unlike the network Twitter engagement we see with other shows, and you seem to be both a mega fan of the show and ringleader of the Divas, to say the least. How long have you been a Dateline fan? Why is this your show?
Kim: I am a total Dateline NBC fangirl and have been for years, back to the first season with Jane Pauley and Stone Phillips. I remember it was on Tuesday nights and I would watch it with my grandmother, who was a news diehard who watched anything by the big three (at the time). She was also a huge Jane Pauley fan. I grew up watching the news and reading newspapers and I was always immersed in politics, current events and such, and pretty much still am. Anyway, we would watch Dateline and talk about the stories they covered. This was before the days of total Internet access when there was still what they used to call "water cooler talk."
Even Kim's dog is a fan / Image via Kim Trimble
Eventually Dateline brought in other NBC news people (Brian Williams/Tom Brokaw SWOON) and it was actually on five nights a week. And yes, I watched them all unless there was a football game on (Sorry @DatelineNBC). I used to live near New Orleans when Hoda Kotb was one of our local news reporters on WWL-TV, and I remember when she left NOLA for New York how my grandmother was proud that she had "made it big." Ha! Being in law enforcement, I also loved all of the "To Catch a Predator" and "To Catch a Con Man" stories as well as the murder investigations Dateline would present. And I have always LOVED Keith Morrison and of course Josh Mankiewicz.
— Kim (@kimt205) March 14, 2014
DR: How did the hashtag/initiative #datelinedivas get started. Is this an NBC promotional project?
Kim: The Dateline Divas account and hashtag was a complete accident, as most good ideas often are. Dateline and especially Josh Mankiewicz are extremely active on social media and I have been following/interacting with them (and especially Josh) for some time now. Besides live tweeting Dateline episodes, they are very interactive with their fans and are always great to talk to across all forms of social media.
I follow a large number of people that work there and they are all very funny, informative and total professionals in the news business. I live-tweet a lot of the shows and if you check my timeline throughout the week I have usually come up with a poem or tweet regarding my Dateline obsession, I mean hobby. And if you expect to see much from me on Fridays that's not about or hashtagged #Dateline, you will be disappointed. All of the Dateline staff and correspondents have been very nice and incredibly tolerant and patient of my fandom (Again, especially Josh.)
— Kim (@kimt205) November 22, 2013
One night a group of us regular tweeters were chatting with Josh and Keith, and introducing each other to our little core group who were really, let's say "diligent" about our #DatelineLove: Myself, @nataliebannon, @denisehunnings, @MediaOkra, @JackieEllCee and of course @JoshMankiewicz and @dateline_keith. We had been discussing how I may have used my outside voice the first time Josh tweeted me in 2011 and how I may have also almost set the biology lab on fire by breaking a beaker and almost knocking over a Bunsen burner. My fangirlism has no enthusiastic boundaries. Apparently. Anyway, I tweeted that I loved how I brought all of us #dateline divas together, and in turn, Natalie tweeted that she loved how I referred to them as #dateline divas, and then Josh jumps in and says "And a new term is coined!" and hashtagged it #DatelineDivas. And that's how it all began. Soon after I started the account and have live-tweeted from both my personal one and that one during Dateline, and it seems to have really been a hit! We've got over a thousand Divas now, both men and women, who are all fans of Dateline and the people who work there. I've also participated in NBC promotions like #DontWatchAlone.
Image Kim Trimble
DR: So this evolved organically from your fandom and their interactions? It's so fantastic how the Dateline reporters connect with you in on-going ways. They seem to love it, and it's certainly smart. What sorts of things do the #DatelineDivas like to talk about? Sometimes it's pretty flirty!
Kim: We talk about everything #Dateline, life, etc. We actually have had a few #dateline babies born since the hashtag started, and unfortunately we lost one of our original divas , @kimg5577 to cancer back in December. It was very sad and really had an impact on many of us. We're all pretty close, and anyone who says Twitter friendships aren't real are crazy. And it can definitely be pretty flirty, ha, the Divas ADORE their Josh and Keith, and it's always a hoot when the conversations get rolling. I know on my personal account I do a "count the pocket squares" when Josh is on, and it's always a fun time.
Crushing on Josh Mankiewicz's sartorial choices / Image via Kim Trimble
DR: Your devotion inspired me to see the show, and your Twitter Crush, through new eyes! It must be comforting to know if you ever go missing under mysterious circumstances, you have the best news team ready to take on the case. If something ever happens to me, I'll send you the code word "Lester" so you can arrange an investigation on my behalf. I'd rather take a road trip with Hoda, though. Who would you want to cover a story with or about you?
— Josh Mankiewicz (@JoshMankiewicz) March 14, 2014
Kim: As much as I adore all of the Dateline correspondents, I would definitely want Josh Mankiewicz to cover my story, and for Shane Bishop to be the producer. Not only are they both amazing guys, but Josh would keep my spirit alive by visiting my favorite places to eat during story prep, including some local BBQ joints and my most favorite place ever, Mary Mahoney’s in Biloxi, MS. Also, they have pictures of me in happier times, “just in case.”
DR: So if there are other Dateline fans who want to Tweet along with the Divas, is that okay? Can they just jump into the hashtag and Tweet with you?
Kim participated in the #DontWatchAlone DatelineNBC contest / Image via Kim Trimble
Kim: Any fan of Dateline is welcome and encouraged to tweet along with all of the Dateline fans whenever it’s broadcast, which right now is on Dateline Friday, the Saturday night Dateline mystery, and on Sundays, all at 8/7c but check your local NBC network for broadcast times in your area. They can also follow me @kimt205 and at the @DatelineDivas on Twitter, you will for sure find all things Dateline on either timeline. And DEFINITELY follow @DatelineNBC and it’s correspondents and producers on Twitter at: @DatelineNBC, @NBCNews, @DatelineNBCProd, @JoshMankiewicz, @dateline_keith, @LesterHoltNBC, @dateline_dennis, @hodakotb, @CanningAndrea, @elizcole. Follow the hashtags #dateline, #datelineNBC, #dontwatchalone and #datelinedivas for even more info!
Y'all know it's coming, right? The #dateline twist!
— Dateline Divas (@DatelineDivas) April 19, 2014
OR IS IT?