Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Social Media Plays Role for 'Vampire Diaries' Actor

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Social Media Plays Role for 'Vampire Diaries' Actor

Article excerpt

Ian Somerhalder has found a successful home on the CW series "The Vampire Diaries." He's also one of TV's baddest boys, which makes him a fan favorite. Check out social media if you want proof.

Somerhalder has watched how fans impact the show with their comments on social media, particularly his character Damon Salvatore.

"I will be the first to say I think the world shifted completely with the advent of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. These spaces, I guess we could call them, created an environment to transfer a lot of information very quickly; but, then, all of a sudden, it becomes this crazy, organic beast at some times, if you will," Mr. Somerhalder says. "Is it nurture or nature, what's really happening?

"But the ability for these people to start a forum and actually bond themselves over these story lines is really changed the face of the planet."

Mr. Somerhalder has live tweeted during broadcast, which gives him something TV actors have never had: an immediate response from viewers as if he were doing a stage production.

As Mr. Somerhalder's character grew in popularity, the role began to shift from being evil to one of more of a sphere of evil influence of those around him. All of the writers and producers behind the show have taken into consideration what the fans say through social media when putting the show together.

There's good reason to listen to all of those voices: The CW Network has announced the show will be back for the 2015-16 season.

Julie Plec, "Vampire Diaries" executive producer, describes social media as a double-edged sword.

"On the one hand, it's your built-in focus group. There are a lot of positives about being able to have direct access to your audience and hear in real time what they are responding to, what they like and all of that," Ms. Plec says. "So that's - theoretically - a good thing; but, then, the bad thing that's associated with that is when you have to work very hard not to be influenced, but you are keeping your creative head the priority.

"I had a moment recently. Somebody was yelling at me about something on Twitter, as is often the case, and saying, 'Well, if you'd only done this, then we wouldn't be in this mess,' And I thought, well, going back, would I do any of this any differently? …

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