HOW THE INTERNET CHANGED THE WAY I EXPERIENCE TV SHOWS AND LIFE IN GENERAL
People know I have odd and peculiar habits and interests.
For example, whenever I order a banana shake, I get weird looks from my immediate social vicinity which always happen to be my officemates. I also listen to music no one seems to rhythmically recognize. I read Buddhist texts and read more Buddhist stuff over the internet. I do Tai Chi every morning in full chinese regalia (ok not full regalia, just the uniform). I read the Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie during elementary (couldn’t understand a thing but I liked the words so I kept reading anyway).
But nothing could bust me as evidently the “ultimate office eccentric” than the shows I watch. I don’t watch tv, not since I moved in a dormitory during college, until I started working here in Makati. I get my news feed straight from a broadsheet, and I don’t follow American Idol. I don’t know half the celebrities on TV and I’m not crazy about Xian Lim who ever the hell he is.
I do watch movies once in a while (if once a week qualifies as “once in a while”) though. Its like going to church for me…but that is a different post altogether so I’ll just leave it at that.
What “TV Experience” am I talking about in my article title you might ask? Not long ago, with the advent of a respectable internet bandwidth, streaming and torrent downloads, TV shows from the other side of the world began crashing down our servers to this part of the Pacific. Piracy, the necessary evil of today rely heavily to this glorious technology, the ability to multiply a copy, and our opportunity to broadcast a message in a thousand shattering voices from afar, that is the internet and its child, social networking.
With the internet everyone has the opportunity to be something else, other than being an American, other than being Asian, black, a red head, in short, anyone can go beyond their racial identity, the most optimistic contribution the internet had given this post-modern era of warring opinions and beliefs, crashing in one idea- globalization.
The geographical borders are slowly blurring away as people from different parts of the world offers their enthusiasm to share ideas and beliefs through the internet, you see a trend where people of the same interest come together to forums, inevitably attracted to the things they like, tagging friends of friends to a beautiful Tumblr post, or sharing links of videos they unearthed when they plunged to Youtube typing searches of cats and whales.
“Fandoms a term used to refer to a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of sympathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interests” says Wikipedia. This has become a very good avenue for researchers to measure what ticks in public spheres of discussion. No more crude manipulations of statistics, but a pure instinctual understanding of how people think.
The recent success of two of my favorite shows, BBC Sherlock and Doctor Who (of the same executive producer and head writer, Steven Moffat who is as it turns out, as tech-savvy as his audience are) are good examples of how social networking influenced the way we experience television shows. Their mileage goes a long way than television commercial at chosen regions. Finally, I am no longer at the mercy of big TV network on this side of the world (that is ABS-CBN, GMA 7 and TV 5 churning out the same sentimental teleseryes throughout the years).
Finally, I managed to see a serial killer be the protagonist (a completely affable one at that) of a show in Showtime’s DEXTER. I also lived to see the day where I can finally tell people, without shame that I love pop culture that exists outside the likes of Britney Spears and John Lloyd Cruz (I just used those two names in a sentence, this blogpost may explode after the message is complete). It made me feel like I belong, not in a race of people, not in a country, and certainly not in a religious group, but in a place of ideas. Freedom to think finally! A global community of like-minded people where I am a proud member.
One can now freely say that they like a show and people will respond to them, enthusiastically that yes, he/she is not alone and that a lot of other people love it too. In turn, showrunners and tv executives can now observe the social climate in ways that has never been done before. The fourth wall has also been abolished sometimes where tv shows acknowledges the audience for their contribution to the show’s success and asks them what they like to see, its this kind of open communication from source to receiver which had always been the ideal way to nurture a relationship with the viewing public.
Now, we don’t need to wait for newspaper critics to tell us that a show is a work of art. Many of us who have been mildly educated and literate in “reading” a show can now raise their opinions and be recognized for his unique observation. This I believe is also a good sign because now, we don’t need to wait for the snob intellectual who graduated in a prestigious school who Majored in Film and literature to preach to us the merits of the current modern adaptation of Sherlock Holmes over the Guy Ritchie action version of the same fictional Detective from Victorian London. What you just need is to really read the originals, watch the classics and really love it to understand what the BBC Sherlock modern adaptation stands advantageous over the Hollywood blockbuster of Guy Ritchie. This is the future right at our finger tips and we most definitely must use it to our advantage at the moment.
The internet also has the ability to influence us in what one should watch, filter out the crap shows. I see this as a good sign where we can finally get better shows in the future, and this my friends may be the best end product of our generation, the filtering of faulty ideas into pure recognition of genius and honesty in television that is unprecedented. Some day, we will look at the television, or our laptops and see only the shows we want and everything is fine and pure quality television.
Any tv executive right now who doesn’t look into internet forums or read reviews of their shows may be doomed. It’s as they say, don’t trust a teacher who has stopped reading, or for us, don’t trust a writer who doesn’t read what people write about what he has written.
As for me, I’ll continue writing 140 character posts and occasionally put tags on them. I’m now reminded that I have 50 followers on twitter (hahaha I know, mostly friends), better not let them down and tell them why Sherlock is the best show ever!!!