Commentary

Live-Tweeting The Oscars And Other Useless Efforts

fail whale/oscar

"Live-tweeting" the Oscars, if you are just watching it on TV, is an excellent exercise in redundancy. Anybody who "misses" anything that happens during the three-hour-long nationally televised marathon likely does so intentionally. All those citizen "reporters" seeking to update us and let us know that Ben Stiller "HAS BLUE PAINT ON" are not really providing much of a service. See, if I were among the millions of viewers already watching the show live on TV I'd know, in fact, that Mr. Stiller has a funny costume on. I'd have even noticed "OMG A TAIL" without your having pointed it out to me. (Though there was that first 15 minutes we in New York missed due to the standoff between ABC and Cablevision. So those "Wow, this is really boring" tweets helped to serve to make us feel as though we weren't missing anything.)

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Imagine you are in a room full of people. What would be acceptable? Shouting "Jeff Bridges UPSET! RAWK!" probably would not be welcome. Especially since just about every news organization in the western hemisphere predicted a walk for the Dude.

Saying "And that's a wrap. Goodnight, all!" indicates an over-inflated sense of self-importance, usually reserved for sportscasters, creative directors, and James Cameron.

Then there are those who seek to attach themselves to an event everyone is a part of, even if they have nothing to add really. The hashtag allows the attention starved to do this. It also allows marketers to push their message to what they hope may be a willing audience. But, come on, Harvard, this is beneath you.

Sure there are some media-OCDs who used the extra platform to augment their already obsessive blogging of the live TV event. Journalist Toby Young, who also wrote about the show for The Telegraph (UK), comes to mind. He actually strove to provide instant commentary on the broadcast. Of course he's a journalist. And a spotlight whore. Calling out the broadcast's director for being an "idiot" for cutting away from the Text Dolphin sign held up by one of the crew accepting "The Cove"'s award for best documentary was more like your friend on the couch  making an acerbic comment and less like your friend on the couch next to you has Asperger's.

3 comments about "Live-Tweeting The Oscars And Other Useless Efforts".
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  1. Charles Balazs from MZ, March 8, 2010 at 10:05 p.m.

    I think this misses the point. Yes, there are some using Twitter for self-promotion, but those live-tweeting the Oscars are merely bringing more people in the room with them, sharing the experience as they would in person. It isn't even necessary about sharing something missed (like Farah Fawcett and Bea Arthur in the memoriam, which exploded across Twitter). It's just sharing thoughts and reactions and seeing those same--or different--reactions in lots of different people all around the world. At it's base, Twitter has always been just sharing your thoughts at the moment in the shortest form, so it will always be banal on purpose.

  2. Chris Kieff from 1 Good Reason, March 9, 2010 at 9:06 a.m.

    I agree with Charles, you're missing the entire point. I remember tweeting while the Jets were in the playoffs. I didn't attend the games, and neither did my friends but at the end of the game one of my buddies Tweeted: "it was fun watching the game with you." Which is the essence of social media- virtual togetherness. We can't always be together, and even if we had the opportunity to be together, we may choose different people to be with. But Twitter and tools like it allow us to be with others and form deeper friendships.
    Perhaps a little deeper connection with others on Twitter will help you to appreciate what it's all about?

  3. John Capone from Whalebone, March 9, 2010 at 10 a.m.

    Charles and Chris,

    Thanks for your feedback. Though I am taken aback by the suggestion that I need a deeper connection with strangers prone to random ejaculations. I have to say, I don't think I "missed the entire point" (not wholly anyway) since at the end of yes, what's arguably a rant I say almost the exact same thing as both of you when talking about Toby Young's commentary being "more like your friend on the couch making an acerbic comment and less like your friend on the couch next to you has Asperger's."

    Charles, I just happen to think that we should never be satisfied with the most banal form of communication possible. Especially when it's on purpose.

    All of this is way less rant-y than it sounds. Microblogging is a new platform and everyone is learning his or her own way. The growing pains of any new form of communication are always painful. The most frequently sent message when the first trans-Atlantic cable was built was: "Did you get that?"

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