Tag Archives: Message Boards

Lost in Lost’s Critical Culture: A Response to the New York Times

Lost in Lost’s Critical Culture

May 20th, 2010

The end of Lost is going to create a deluge of pieces celebrating the show, but it’s also going to create a lot of pieces which claim quite the opposite. I don’t want to suggest that the latter is in some way invalid, as not everyone is required to be a fan of the show, and there are plenty of arguments to be made that Lost’s success sent the other networks on a wild goose chase for a similar series which has in some ways crippled dramatic development over the past number of years.

These pieces are going to be a dime a dozen this week, but I want to make a few comments regarding Mike Hale’s piece at the New York Times, “In ‘Lost,’ Mythology Trumps Mystery,” where he makes some fairly contentious arguments. The piece, which reads as if it could be an artifact from the show’s third season as much as its sixth, makes the claim that Lost’s only good season was its first, which I would personally contest but which is Hale’s opinion. I don’t agree with his classification of the show, and I have some concerns with the way in he boils down the series to suit his argument, but he’s entitled to dislike the show as much as he likes.

However, I am personally offended at the way in which Hale attacks those people who do like the show, especially those who choose to write about it. It is one thing to say that Lost itself has failed to live up to his own expectations, but it’s quite another to make the claim that critics and fans have become sheep being led by Shepherds Lindelof and Cuse – not only is this patently untrue of critics of the series, but it is also belittling to those fans whose Lost experience has been enriched, rather than obfuscated, through the interactive experience of watching this series.

There is room for a critical analysis of the ways in which the relationship between Lost and its fans has been managed, but Hale is more interested in vilifying rather than embracing its complexity, and it makes for a frustrating piece of journalism.

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Sound Off! Week – Hey! Nielsen – The Problem of Points of Origin

Sound Off! on Hey! Nielsen

The Problem of Points of Origin

One of the problems that Hey! Nielsen faces is that the fans who reach the site are almost all primarily arriving via other forms of social networking: Message Boards, MySpace, LiveJournal, etc. The problem is that many of these people, then, are used to the systems already in place, and a whole new interface (And a confusing one: opinions, ratings, comments are all unique measurements to the site, as we’ll get to tomorrow) is nearly impossible to understand immediately.

The Problem 

Supernatural fan Franzi, a Livejournal user, notes that “the way livejournal works, it would never occur to one that a new opinion is like an entire livejournal post; at best, we’d think it was the start of a new comment thread and at worst, a single comment. Quite simply: we do not use social networking sites or message boards to any significant degree.” This problem is not new: a great deal of television fans are not tech savvy twenty-somethings who can easily adapt to a new social networking system.

Jericho fans, meanwhile, heard about it through their most universal form of communication: the CBS Message Boards where much of the Nuts for Jericho campaign originated (Although it has grown into a large and great series of other sites).

“I first heard about Hey!Nielsen on the CBS/Jericho Message Board,” says Jericho fan WelcometoCO. “Somebody’s posting listed a link in which you could express your interest in Hey!Nielsen.”

While Jericho fans come primarily from a message board environment, they still faced the same problem: spurred on by calls to action, they jumped into Hey! Nielsen and saw it as an avenue for their fandom. This is fandom that has been well-developed within a certain environment, but when unleashed on something different in even a direct fashion it will (inevitably) run into a few hiccups.

The Root of the Problem 

Therefore, when it comes to the problems that Hey! Nielsen needs to address, the root of their confusion issue (Which will be discussed in further detail tomorrow) is that their learning has often been limited to certain systems. The large glut of social networking sites have not forced everyone into conformity, but rather created a dozen different skillsets that are not always transferrable.

In developing the site, then, this really needed to be considered. There is nothing that really explains what Hey! Nielsen is: it’s really an amalgam of Digg, with a little bit of Facebook/MySpace thrown in for good measure, but taking two popular mediums and combining them does not mean people will understand. Fans are a diverse group of people, and any new social networking site needs to reflect this within its design and mission statement.

The Solution

A relative tutorial that explains what each of the site’s options is compared to other social networking forms. When I first equated “Opinions” to message board posts, fans were shocked that this was the case: if that had been done in the first place, I don’t think that there would have been the same level of problems. Creating an entire new lexicon of terms might sound like a good idea, but all it creates is confusion. Understanding those differences and adapting the system to reflect that is a great way to solve the problem fans have put forward.

For all of the Jericho and Supernatural fan responses regarding how they came to Hey! Nielsen, keep reading after the jump.

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Filed under Jericho, Social Networking, Supernatural