Once watching the TV was a complete passive act of slovenly consumption. The evening show was watched while slumped on the couch all senses dulled by the blue rays of the box.
Now watching the TV is only one part of watching the TV. In face “TV events” can be enjoyed by hooking into the Twitter firehose and looking for the right hashtag.
During the Logies, an Australian TV award show for all US folks, I noticed that the digital hipsters at the event were tweeting, that people on the couch were tweeting, that journalists were tweeting.
Everybody was talking at the same time about the #logies. Cracking gags, being outrageous laughing at “the stars”.
And what for?
Comedian Wil Anderson (@Wil_Anderson) attempted controversy by alluding to John Mayer, herpes and his “white supremicist cock”. He passed comment about Michael Slater doing jokes, Sigrid Thornton looking like gollem and something about the Rogue Traders.
It was pretty nasty stuff. Funny when you’re pissed and wearing a dinner suit, not so funny the next day.
Wil Anderson wasn’t the only one trying to be real funny on twitter for free.
Catherine Deveny (@catherinedeveny), Melbourne comedian, satirist and athiest offered such gems as:
“Rove and Tasma look so cute … hope she doesn’t die, too”
“I do so hope Bindi Irwin gets laid”
She now claims that she has been taken out of context.
I am not massively offended by any of the logies comments by Anderson, Deveny or anyone of the other clowns.
In fact I think it’s great that celebrities can be taken down to size by anyone with an attitude, a twitter account and the right hashtag.
And this is just the start.
Twitter TV commentary is taking off in Australia.
The latest series of Masterchef has seen continuous tweeting.
Such was the volume of tweets during ABC’s live discussion show Q and A, that it now publishes selected and topical tweets as a way of engaging the home audience.
It is all a little fun.
What concerns me is that the greater the volume of tweets, the greater the tendency for some commentary to be mindless and involve badly executed irony, cruelty and thoughtless aphorisms.
There are gems to be found, but as Twitter grows they are harder to find.
According to Deveny, Twitter is
“a great challenge for us, to have a sophisticated response to the evolution of communication.”.
That implies that people are actually listening and engaging.
But they aren’t. They are too busy talking shouting.
As a means of cultural commentary Twitter is more like talk radio than the smart coffee chat. They only difference is that rather than being between a moron host and a moron caller there are a gazillion morons all saying the same thing, all crying out for attention, all hoping for a retweet from a celebrity.
If everyone in the room is talking loudly then the conversation is useless and boring.
Perhaps there needs to be a stop tweeting and listen campaign, real-time curation of TV and cultural events and an education program about satire and irony for Twitter to stay fascinating, beguilling and delightfully stupid.
Without that Twitter is doomed to become just a million moronic conversations.