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Archive for October, 2009

A bunch of Twits or “leave Taxi Driver the fuck alone!”

Integrating Twitter with a screening of “Taxi Driver” What is the point?

This is absolute heresy coming from a social media evangelist, but I still think Twitter is an incredibly lame one-trick pony whose trick is pretty dull. At worst Twitter becomes intrusive and depowering or at best creates a Limited Amnesiac Collective Consciousness.

Let me explain.

I just read on that Sony is doing a screening of Taxi Driver tonight and will be integration twits—err- tweets during the event. How could the experience of (arguably) Martin Scorcese’s finest film possibly be enhanced or add value by having a bunch of tweets flying about while watching it? Even if we aren’t talking about a masterpiece like Taxi Driver- let’s replace it with I don’t know, a Pauly Shore Movie “Encino Man”, how does the nattering of everyone you don’t know tossing comments and flames at you enhance the experience rather than wholly detract from it?

Now you might argue that anything that distracts you from “Encino Man” is good thing, but you’re just being snarky.

Twitter has value as trending crowdsourced topics, such as Michael Jackson’s health or even political events- it has value in that I get to learn what is bugging my daughters, what’s bugging Diablo Cody, what’s amusing Adam Savage and a few others I can’t mention on a particular day. It has some value on being able to ping several people or tossing and idea out there to get VERY brief feedback.

But for the most part it distracts from and dilutes whatever anyone is trying to talk about, especially in the moment. Tweeting during a move is akin to having the entire movie theatre nattering at you while you’re trying to enjoy a movie. Even worse (and please my friends and colleagues, please know I love you regardless); when people tweet during a conference while someone is speaking does two things primarily: it’s is taking the tweeters attention away from the speaker and it is drawing the attention away from someone else listening to check their tweets about what other people are saying about what they are currently experiencing. It’s akin to sharing an experience with other vicariously through a tool that helps you experience the event less. And for those of us not currently experiencing the event, we have absolutely no context to what is being tweeted not could we if the tweeter wanted to because—well; 140.

Shared experiences is how society grows and learns and becomes better- through good and bad events. Shared experiences can be fun and enlightening. If 1 million people decide to watch and share the Taxi Driver experience tonight and they all decide to tweet during the event- I can pretty much guarantee that anything intelligent, poignant or epiphianic will be lost in the sea of tweets and/or if you are going to constantly refresh your screen or phone for updated trending topics, you aren’t watching the movie so you’re really not sharing the experience.

And tomorrow, none of it matters, because there is no permanence; no way to review, store and refer back to anything more than a few hours or days old without tremendous effort. And if you have that kind of time, you are either very wealthy with absolutely no life or you are spending an inordinate amount of time chasing a fleeting 140 character or less thought when you probably should be doing something else- like having a beer, finishing that report or actually speaking to the person next to you.

Twitter is fun. It has some limited value. It can create awareness and solve problems. It can allow you to stalk your favorite person(s) or find out about a sale on video cards or where to “tweet up” to get collectively trashed.

But please stop cramming it into every possible use-case no matter how stupid it might be for the sake of being “Twittified”.

And for all things sacred, don’t mess with “Taxi Driver”.