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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Does livetweeting while you’re watching TV ruin the experience?

angry Twitter bird

Daniel Carlson at Pajiba thinks “live-tweeting tv shows ruins everything.” Not because you might spoil plot twists for those not watching live, but because:

it negatively affects the way you experience the story.

I don’t check Twitter during “Breaking Bad,” and not because I don’t want to be spoiled. It’s because I’m watching the show. For those 60 minutes, I want to see what happens to Walter White. I don’t want to pause the action to repeat a canny one-liner, and I sure don’t want to miss a moment of emotional scene-setting because I was fixing a typo in my #BetterCallSaul hashtag. I don’t want to tweet during the show because I don’t want to distract myself from watching it, and I don’t want to tweet details when it’s done because I’d hate to even accidentally ruin the experience for someone else.

[U]sing the platforms to instantly communicate detailed plot/dialogue and reactions to TV series — especially those popular ones like “Game of Thrones,” “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” and so on — means missing the point of those shows entirely. The creative teams behind your favorite shows do not intend for them to be half-watched through an ironic lens that’s constantly searching for a pun or .gif fodder. To hover over your computer’s keyboard or phone’s glossy screen is to miss out on the moment of connection and possibility that makes art worth experiencing.

I agree completely (though I have live-tweeted occasionally during shows that don’t demand such intense attention, such as the Oscars). But clearly many people don’t feel the same, because there are so many people live-tweeting. Then again, some people in the same room with you don’t know how to shut the hell up during a show the joys of which only fully reveal themselves if you pay close attention and allow yourself to get totally caught up in them. Which is why I prefer to watch some things by myself.

What do you think? Does livetweeting while you’re watching TV ruin the experience?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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