Live Blogging and its Discontents.

by Eric Kohn
April 16, 2009 7:21 AM
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"Turn off your cell phones." It's a rule one must abide in both airplanes and movie theaters alike. In most cases, I highly recommend heeding this advice. Last year, I learned the hard way that sending live dispatches from a movie theater really ticks people off. Then again, if my quasi-tweets from the very back row of the Palais balcony had a greater sense of critical urgency, perhaps the backlash would have been somewhat slighter. Not that I'm condoning the behavior. In fact, I think it's an awful idea. But I've already admitted as much, so give it a rest, haters. I'm pretty much on your side.

Nevertheless, the "live blog" approach to the film viewing experience has certainly expanded beyond the realm of my own finger tips. In summer 2008, Gawker live-blogged the Sex and the City movie. Now comes this organized approach to live-tweeting Crank 2 this weekend.

What drives the urge to unleash a live stream of unedited reactions as a movie as it unfolds? The impulse isn't new — just the technology with which one can express it. In my case, I was drunk on the arbitrary zaniness of the event in question, and felt the need to broadcast my histrionics to the world. (Woe is me.) But some people probably want to take hold of that "first" title and beat others to the punch, with less regard for quality than timing. Others may simply want to capture a certain feeling before it vanishes outside the theater. Whatever the case, the activity itself seems a bit unruly -- but you'll note that the Crank guidelines (above) require participants to sit in the back row of the theater so as not to disturb others, which was something I did as well. Still, if you want to live-blog a movie, it's probably best if everyone else in the theater wants to do it, too. Otherwise, turn off your phone and enjoy the ride with the rest of the room. Trust me.

(H/t: John Lichman, my favorite hat-tipper.)

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