Comparing social networks to movies on the basis of Attention? Flawed.

Sigh. I was rather enjoying my Monday until I read this infuriating piece by Alexia Tsotsis over on TechCrunch – I’d Rather Watch Instagram Than A Movie.

The basis of the comparison? Attention. The basis of the preference? Simplicity and relatability.

The appeal of Instagram is, for lack of a better word, simple; the world is moving too damn fast and we don’t want the cognitive load of figuring out what we’re looking at — we just want to see simple pretty things. This simplicity is what makes services like Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest a joy versus other entertainment offerings.

The truth is that on any given day, I’d rather check in on Instagram then watch a movie.

Call me a snob, but I feel sorry for the simple mind that can equate one form of attention to another so easily, and put it down to “killing time”. It is total underappreciation for film as an artform.

Why pay $10 to commit to watching something in a theatre when you can watch it at home for much less with the added bonus of being able to check your email? 

Checking your email during a movie is not a bonus. A good movie, and believe me, there are plenty of them out every year, is escapism at its best. A good movie has you lost in its world, characters, stories and emotions. A good movie leaves a lasting impression on you, and is something that can be discussed endlessly, watched over and over, with the possibility of deriving further, or alternate meanings.

Why the hell would you want to check your email during this? Sounds like addiction or ADHD. No no, wait, it’s some sort of entertainment inhaler.

And, why even bother spending two hours of your time sitting and absorbing a complex narrative that isn’t connected to you, when you can pop open your iPhone and get a quick hit of rarefied entertainment from people you actually know — who you can actually relate to as opposed to just project on.

A quick hit of rarefied entertainment from someone I know has nowhere near the value of the connection and impact a movie can have.

Knowing someone does not equate to relating to them, and one form of attention does not equate to another. I want my attention to be commanded for more than 15 seconds at a time. I want my mind to be challenged. I don’t want my entertainment to just be “simple”.


4 thoughts on “Comparing social networks to movies on the basis of Attention? Flawed.

  1. Erietta Sapounakis says:

    ugh completely agree with your thoughts on this. What Alexia is advocating is a world where get increasingly insular, seeking input from those closest. Replace the cultural subject matter here for evolution and you get a very small gene pool. Attention grabbing headline yes. Meaningful cultural critique it is not. Yawn.

  2. c0uP says:

    Thanks! You’ve summed it up a lot more eloquently than I did. Clearly at TechCrunch, all that matters is the attention grabbing headline / page views.

  3. Ebert says:

    Why even waste time on Tech Crunch, a bunch of sellouts. Alexia has the mental capacity of a fish, hence can only engage with stimuli like flash cards and electric shock.

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