I’ve been holding off on jumping into the plethora of online offerings for “The Office” for a while now, but I can avoid it no more. Even if the show is not really funny and makes you feel like a jerk by watching it, NBC has invested a lot of time and energy to build an entire online world for the series, and since they started with blogs in the earlier seasons, that’s where I’ll start looking too.
When it comes to the online world of “The Office,” Dwight Schrute, a fan favourite and resident oddball, takes up a huge presence. That’s due in part of Rainn Wilson’s expertise as social media, as well as having a character with a lot of mythology and oddball eccentricities that are well suited for the internet rabbit hole.
For example, when you first hit “Schrute Space,” Dwight’s blog that’s updated every other month or so, you also get links to Dwight’s “Private Investigator” site, a “Diabolical Blog” which seems to be broken, the “Dwight/Angela baby contract,” the Dunder-Mifflin store, the Sabre Corp, a sign up for Dwight’s email blasts and a Trip Advisor page for Schrute Farms.
For Dwight’s blog, it’s all written in-character, offering up his take on why he thinks everything he does is awesome, and what may have happened around certain events when the audience wasn’t looking. It started in 2005 with a post entitled “Schrute-Space” and describes why Dwight hates Salmon, and what his DJ name would be.
From reading about the creation of “The Office” online offerings, NBC.com hired a pair of writers to fill out all this online content, including the blog, and when you see the sheer volume of it all, you can see where the work went.
In other blogs, there’s “There’s No Accounting for Taste,” written by Oscar Martinez for the “Sabre Corporation,” though it’s a little lean with only a couple posts. There’s “Creed Thoughts” by the deranged office drone Creed, with archives reaching back to 2007. I find them to be pretty nonsensical, but from what I’ve seen from his character on the show, I guess that would be the point. Finally there’s the Halpert Baby blog, which is Jim and Pam’s “Mommy Blog” for Pam’s pregnancy and subsequent baby-related comings and goings.
The “Baby Blog” has a pile of outbound Jim-and-Pam related links as well, including the wedding website with engagement photos. The rest of the links are links to “Working Mom” type sites and other blogs related to the baby-mother world, adding a level of reality and utility to their page.
I do wonder, if judging from the infrequency of the updated blog posts, if branching out into too many characters harms the entire enterprise. Character blogs can be a really great way continually engage audiences, especially during repeat breaks or summer/winter hiatus… but I would say that they’d need to be updated at least weekly to keep audiences coming back.
However, “The Office” should be commended for not resting on blogs alone, as their site is very deep with content, and it should be recognized for putting a character’s voice in a blog over seven years ago — and keeping it going for the run of the series.