Anderson Cooper Live | I Was Blogger of the Day!
Today, I hopped a train to New York City and joined Anderson Cooper and Amy Brenneman on Anderson Copper Live. Each show, they have a blogger in the audience who gets to blog LIVE and tweet while it airs. Talk about a fun job. Where do I sign up?
More on how you could get picked later...
My opportunity happened through a connection with Hubpages (the best blogger/writer content site on the Internet of course), and the producers found my writing niche to be a match with Anderson's hot topic of the day, "Do women pay more?" I have a lot to say on that matter, but first, let's take a sneak peek at a day in the Anderson Live studio.
What is it about crowds and shows that causes people to act silly? I'm so curious about the psychology behind embarrassing yourself for a tee-shirt. An audience member named Tak (yeah, not sure either), showed us his dance moves, triggering a spontaneous dance contest with other people in the audience. All for a tee-shirt. I practically dropped my laptop I was laughing so hard. It wasn't just the dancers, but the commentary from the staff that lit me up. All I kept thinking was, "And that is what they are saying out loud..." You can bet they are thinking a whole hell of a lot worse. But it was hilarious nonetheless. By the time Amy and Anderson walked into the studio, the energy was palpable.
Anderson and Amy had some fantastic chemistry. They caught us up on all the important news of the day, including Honey Boo Boo's need for security, Arnold Schwarzenegger's refusal to show his ex-wife the book he wrote, and of course- America's fascination with Real Housewives. Amazingly, Anderson can pull these headlines off while maintaining his intelligence simply because we all know him as the journalist in the heat of war or fighting for issues that society ignores. We excuse such news because he's just so darn likable. And, it is sort of endearing that he lost sleep last night after watching the reunion show for RH of New Jersey. In his words, it was "too stressful...all that fighting...can't we just all get along?" You can hear women swooning in the audience. Not available ladies. Not available.
Honey BooBoo came up on the screen next. What a train wreck right? This poor girl, a Toddlers and Tiaras character who landed her own show, is zapped with energy drinks and caffeine, and given hordes of praise for acting like a six year old spazz. Anderson handled it well. After all, if her parents are going to make a mess of her life, one would hope that she is at least compensated well enough so that she can afford the therapy she is going to need when she becomes an adult.
And then, poor Lindsay Lohan. Trouble follows her where ever she goes. She moves to New York City and within months, she's on a first name basis with the NYC police.
Ramona Singer, one of the stars of Real Housewives of New York, dropped in to say hello as well. She appeared calm, despite the melodrama that surrounds her and her co-star Aviva. Anderson did ask about her, ehem, drinking problem, but she moved on from that topic quickly.
Surprisingly, by the time Anderson was done, I didn't feel like I had to shower off the "reality TV" buzz. That takes some talent folks.
Do women pay more?
Last week, Anderson initiated a social experiment to see if women's products were priced higher than men's, simply because they could get away with it. He explored products like razors (black or pink colored), dry cleaning, haircuts, and other services. The results were not so surprising, but sad. It appears that in almost every case, a woman was charged more for equal product or service. So this morning, he brought on a panel of women to discuss the issue. And it's then that you meet "dry-cleaning" lady.
"Stay with me," was her favorite line, as she repeatedly cut off the other panelists and Anderson himself, chewing up time with her very long and involved argument as to why the prices might be different. You could tell, Anderson wasn't buying it. Neither was the lady on the panel that got played by a store owner trying to charge her more. What is clear is that shopkeepers can be lazy, throwing out prices quickly and making assumptions based on whether you are a man or a woman. Not cool.
Why do women pay more for a pink razor versus a black one? Last I check, pink paint doesn't cost more than black. So what's the deal? Anderson pointed out this happens with all sorts of products that have equal ingredients, but are simply marketed differently for men and women.
Do women buy into marketing strategies more? Perhaps. It may be that we love to be "promised" something- whether it be to look thinner or feel better. Marketers know if they can convince women of this, we will happily pay more for the product that will solve our problems. As Amy so aptly put, "This is our own damn fault ladies."
And she's right. We've given advertisers a hook by falling into this trap ourselves. But regardless, services should be offered equally to both genders. A hairstylist on the panel this morning was fined for having a sign that said, "men's cuts" and "women's cuts" with different prices for each.
She clarified that she wasn't basing price on gender, but on time taken. Fine, then write it that way. Because let's be real, a woman who walks in for a quick trim is going to pay more than a man who wants a quick trim- even if his trim doesn't take as long. Charge by the time it takes, and we avoid this problem.
In California, legislation has passed ensuring that business owners do not discriminate on the basis of gender. About time. Can you imagine if someone walked into a salon that had a list of "white" cuts and "black" cuts? That puts it into perspective.
The tide is slowly changing, but only as more women stand up and refuse to pay more for equal services. Do we want a world where women are paid less than men (on average) and then charged more?
Thank you Anderson for making this issue a priority on your show.
For more photos and behind the scenes with Anderson Live
- Life According to Julie
All the backstage fun is documented here!
Wrapping it up
At the end of show, Anderson took audience member questions and it was in the back and forth that you think to yourself, "For being so famous, this guy is unusually normal."
People asked him questions about his favorite food, his most-loved travel spot, who he was voting for in November (which he declined to answer in the interest of journalistic integrity), and when he finds time to sleep. Braver folks asked for hugs and photos, all of which he obliged until his security man whisked him away. In case you wanted to know, Anderson:
- Loves naps.
- Never really auditioned for a "journalist job." As a young man (without credentials), his passion for journalism propelled him into a war zone with a borrowed press pass and a camera. He shot the story and sold it to a news network. The rest is history.
- Has no idea why people on Instagram always take pictures of their food.
- Is quite gracious when perfect strangers try to set him up with a date. Awkward.
Do you want to blog for Anderson Live?
They are looking for bloggers with a decent following, who are interested in writing about the topics they feature on the show. If you live in the New York area, you can go to AndersonLive and apply to be blogger of the day. You get some great perks.
- You can bring your laptop into the studio. How awesome is that?
- You live tweet during the taping and your tweets may appear on their tweet screen.
- Blog about the show, the pre-show, post-show, or that fun moment when you get your photo snapped with Anderson in the photo booth!
- Get your hair and makeup done in case the camera catches you in action.
I personally think that Anderson and his staff have got the "edge" on daytime TV with their aggressive campaign to hook up viewers through social media. As a pro-blogger, I say, "Awesome job guys!"