“The biggest change I think I’ve seen is that we used to have the time to luxuriate in thinking about what we just saw. There was no Twitter, there was no internet…now people are telegraphing what they think of a movie 10 minutes into it…”
I’ve never been bothered by spoilers, but I am intrigued by the evolution of knowledge sharing, as demonstrated through the example of movie watching. As a teen, I went through multiple steps to gather movie information: the TV trailer (which didn’t give everything away), reviews in a (paper) newspaper, word of mouth, either at school or on the telephone (Oh my god (not OMG)! Titanic is the best movie ever!), calling the movie theater’s phone line for movie times (does that even exist anymore?), and finally, determining which theater would let in under-18s without an ID.
While Nesselson bemoans the loss of time for thoughtful indulgence of a subject before engaging in dialogue, did we really have time to think back then? Unless we went to the movie alone, we naturally discussed what we just saw. We shared feelings, thoughts, observations, complaints over a milkshake and pancakes at Denny’s. However, I suppose Nesselson’s complaint is that people can’t even get through a movie without both hearing and passing critique. And even if you were with that annoying person who talked through movies (whoops) well…you were annoyed at them for doing so because their commentary interrupted your experience.
With each advancement, we become more aware of the power behind our technologically driven “collective knowledge”, and realize a large majority of the power lies in instant, accessible sharing. But how much sharing is too much? We could say, “Just turn off the TV”, but at this point, can we really avoid intrusive knowledge and opinion distribution without sequestering ourselves in a the middle of…uh…where exactly?
While I’m an advocate of collective knowledge sharing, I also believe we’re losing something innately human in the midst of digital engulfment. Yes, Twitter is just another form of communication, and yes, we would discuss movies on Facebook the same way we would in person…but when we use these avenues of communication, the space for personal and private thinking becomes smaller and smaller. We automatically share and invite feedback, without a time for self-reflection first. Perhaps we are losing ways to listen to ourselves, and gaining ways of garnering approval (liking/comments/re-tweeting) or attention through hasty debate, of which I, myself, am guilty. Instant access to sharing means instant access to connection; but without the substance gathered from private reflection, the collective knowledge we share becomes superficial.