By Danny Linsner
On February 17th, Jimmy Fallon officially replaced Jay Leno as host of the Tonight Show on NBC, after Leno had spent hosting for over twenty years. Fallon, who first achieved mainstream popularity after being a cast member of Saturday Night Live from 1999 to 2004, had previously been the host of Late Night for five years.
Ever since the decision was made in May of last year to replace Leno with Fallon, there have been many reasons as to why NBC chose to replace Leno with Fallon. One of the many reasons that I believe that Fallon moved to the Tonight Show was his ability to integrate social media into his show.
According to Fuery, interactivity can be defined as, “intervention through the use of technology resulting in immediate feedback.” In simpler terms, interactivity is using different means of technology, whether it is a computer, phone, laptop, or tablet, to speak directly to a certain group or person, and this discussion results in the group or person that you were talking communicate in tandem with what you are talking about.
Jimmy Fallon was able to use social media to earn the role of hosting the Tonight Show through the use of two segments that use social media that date back from the time Fallon hosted Late Night, one of which is called “Late-Night Hashtags”. The way the segment works is that on every Wednesday night, when the show is on the air, Fallon posts a tweet on his own personal account with a tweet that gives out a hashtag to which people can respond to. Typically, the hashtag relates to an event that goes on during a week, like a major news story or a holiday. Then, during Thursday’s show, Fallon reads off the best tweets during the show.
Another segment that Fallon uses that relates to social media is “In Reply To”. The segment, which appears less frequently than “Late-Night Hashtags”, involves Fallon reading off funny replies that famous celebrities made to average people. The comedy from this segment comes from the fact the replies typically have nothing to do with the question that was asked.
How Fallon uses social media relates to the idea of interactivity is that Fallon engages with fans of show at all times of the day, meaning that Fallon’s show extends farther than the one hour at 12:30 and now at 11:30. Fallon’s usage of social media and how the usage has become interactive with the fans of the show have made Fallon popular as a late-night host and was very helpful in getting the Tonight Show gig.