I’m en route to Austin, Tex., where on Sunday I’ll be speaking on a South by Southwest panel, Arts Criticism 140 Characters at a Time, about how Twitter and other social media have affected critics. My answer, in a word: immensely.
Not only does using Twitter give me a much more immediate way to talk with a lot of you, it’s a digital Swiss Army knife of tools that help me with the rest of my writing. It’s a global water cooler, where I can catch real-time reactions to live events like the Oscars or an American Idol. It’s a kind of always-open notebook, where I can try out ideas and ask questions that might become blog posts or magazine articles. And it’s more personal and off the cuff than a composed review or essay: it’s a medium where I watch and react to TV the way I would to someone sitting in my living room. Minus spilling my drink on you.
But enough about me. Let’s talk about you doing my work for me! As I try to collect my own thoughts before my panel Sunday morning, I wonder how you all–people who care enough about TV and media to be reading a blog post about criticism–use Twitter, or Facebook, or blog comments sections with your own TV watching. Does it make the experience more social? Do you like to tweet or just read? Do you find yourself logging off for fear of spoilers, or has it made you more spoiler-tolerant? And are there certain shows that you don’t want to watch while using a second screen–that demand your full attention on the un-interactive box right there in the room with you?
I’m curious to hear how, or if, these media have changed TV for you. And if any of you are in Austin on Sunday, I hope to see you, in non-virtual form.