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Sorry, "All My Children" – With Facebook and Blogs, Who Needs You?

By Meagan Francis |

The strains of the “As The World Turns” or “All My Children” opening music are embedded in my little-kid memories, playing in the background as my mom cleaned the kitchen or folded laundry and I sat on the floor playing with my dolls. I don’t remember my mom being more loyal to one program or network than another; in fact, I’m not even sure she was actually watching the soaps. They were just…there, and let’s face it, in the late 70s and early 80s there wasn’t a whole lot else on daytime TV.

Fast forward a few decades, and I’m the one at home during the day with small kids. Only I don’t think my kids even know what a soap opera is.

If the TV does happen to be on, which it usually isn’t, I’m likely to be watching “House Hunters” or “Designed to Sell” on HGTV. But overwhelmingly, the background noise of my kids’ daily lives is the gentle click-click-click of my fingers on the keyboard.

Part of that’s because I’m a writer working from home. My two-year-old daughter Clara often sits at a table just behind me painting or coloring while I check my email, outline chapters, or blog. But she, and the rest of my kids, also hear me guffaw over particularly funny tweets or gasp out loud at shocking news on Facebook.

When I stumbled across parenting bulletin boards in 1997, shortly after my first son was born, I quickly learned that you’ll never find a more interesting cast of characters than online personas: the self-proclaimed gurus, the perpetual victims, even the super-dedicated trolls. These semi-real people drew me in far deeper than Bo and Hope or Dixie and Tad ever could. And now that practically everyone (and your grandmother) are on social media, no wonder soap operas are on their last legs.

Fact is, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs have become the new soap operas. All the things that the soaps offered, like drama and beautiful people, can now be found on my laptop. Since getting way too caught up in virtual spats years ago, I’ve actually made a large effort to avoid getting personally involved in online spectacles. But every now and then I find myself sitting back and watching a virtual train wreck, and it’s even more interesting than a soap opera because I actually know (sort of) the real people involved.

I’ve seen marriages fall apart on Facebook (awkward!), cheating spouses get called out on Twitter, and friends turn against one another in the comments sections of blogs. Intrigue, comedy, scandal, tragedy – it’s all there, and we simply don’t have to turn on the television anymore to find it. And as for beautiful people? Well, bloggers have figured out a way to scratch that itch, too. Just check out Amanda’s beautiful crafts, or Deb’s beautiful food, or Nie Nie’s beautiful family, or even Ree’s beautiful cows. There’s no shortage of eye candy online, and these days you don’t have to travel further than Pinterest to find it.

So what does that mean for shows like “All My Children” and “One Life to Live”, which were recently taken off the air but will now, according to the Wall Street Journal,  return in an online-only capacity? Well, I think it’s a forward-thinking move, but I’m not so sure it’ll work. Beyond drama, blogs and social media have also allowed us to tap into super-specific interests and interact with the characters who bring us the content. Modern audiences don’t just want to be entertained; we want to be part of the show.

Come to think of it, maybe producers could capitalize on interactivity, niche audiences, and loyalty to popular characters by giving them all blogs. For example, Erica Kane could write a beauty blog and Sami Brady could write a mom blog. They could all show up in one another’s comments sections and Twitter feeds to start fights and affairs.

But I wonder: who’d be the soap-star coupon blogger?

Do you watch the soaps? Or is your Facebook feed enough of a soap opera for you?

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About Meagan Francis


Meagan Francis

Meagan Francis is a mom of five who loves everyday adventures and is in pursuit of a big life with her big family. Her love of family, food, home and travel fuel her writing here and on her blogs The Happiest Home and The Kitchen Hour.
Read bio and latest posts → Read Meagan's latest posts →

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6 thoughts on “Sorry, "All My Children" – With Facebook and Blogs, Who Needs You?

  1. patty boyle says:

    You are so wrong and negative. Perhaps your mom had adhd or depression. The soaps are great and have transitioned from radio to tv and now the internet. If you don’t care to watch the soaps, that is your choice, but please leave the rest of us alone

  2. Meagan Francis says:

    LOL – Patty, I’m not being negative about soaps; just suggesting that they have some serious competition these days. I’m not sure what my mom having adhd has to do with that…

  3. Charlotte says:

    Sorry but soaps arent dead, and the shows that want to take their place like cooking and talk shows, Im sorry but you can watch anything like that on cable 24-7, theres nothing like the soaps…just saying..thanks.

  4. Meagan-
    How could you have written this post and not known that your non-dedication to soaps is DIRECTLY related to your mom having ADHD? It,s like, common knowledge. ;-)
    PS- I’m sure you do know soap fans are pretty rabid. There are (were) entire mini-mags dedicated to them, filled with almost the exact same articles every issue. I will admit that I am aware of this phenomenon firsthand, as I’ve grown up watching AMC. But then, my mother doesn’t have ADHD. So I guess I am blessed with a silly, time-consuming obsession that has robbed me of many productive afternoons. Considering the recent storylines, the web has become a far less embarrassing pastime. :-)

  5. janelhill says:

    I am very displeased that All My Children will end very soon…and that more of those reality shows are multipying..(boring)’I think it’s a good idea that it will run on line, however those who have watch this soap for yrs and don’t own a computer are left out..

  6. Maria Vicareo says:

    I will definitly miss the soaps. I watch them and have tapped them to watch when I get home from work. I enjoy the stories and the characters. I know I won’t be watching their reality tv replacements. Cooking and fashion doesn’t need to bo on every day and can be watched on the cable channels. I guess I’ll be spending more time reading and with my hobbies. I will watch the soaps online if it comes to that.

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