I participated in a Marshall McLuhan Centenary Symposium Fordham University’s Mcnally Auditorium on September 25. There was a preview screening of “Connected” (to be released in October, 2011), a new film by Tiffany Shlain, an American filmmaker and founder of the Webby Awards, and a panel discussion among media professionals followed after watching the movie.
However, my case went farther than hers. I did facebook even while sleeping. (I mean my obsession with facebook was excessive for a while.) I’ve realized that this kind of obsessive compulsive behavior attached to mobile carriers can be easily found regardless of generation once bitten by the bug of SNS. It has been a month since I blocked my facebook wall posting. Being connected with people beyond the barriers of time and space was awesome, but it also hindered my life and my relationship here just at present. It’s ironical to find out that connecting with people in the virtual activities and communication may isolate or disconnect people who I have relationship with in real life. At the end of the movie, Tiffany also asked to herself, “Is connecting widely blocking connecting deeply?” It reminded me of Web 2.0 Suicide Machine” that allows users to permanently delete their accounts from social networking sites such as Facebook Myspace, Twitter and LinkedIn. “When you make 5,000 fake virtual friends, you’ll lose your true 50 friends!” is its catchy phrase.
Actually, I was looking forward to some analysis or reflection about some side effect of new media in terms of being connected in the movie, but only it shows the phenomenon about being connected in the image of global village that McLuhan predicted about a half century ago and doesn’t go in depth while touching her personal stories regarding technology, She wanted to talk more about love through the experience of her father’s death and her child’s birth interwoven with the development of technology.
Therefore, in the academic point of view, the movie just scratched the surface of the issue, “Being connected through the internet,” and in the view point of public interest, the movie was not really attractive due to lack of dramatic stories related. In other words, to the scholars, it seems to be rather superficial, and to the public it sounds to be less fun. However, Holly simply replied to me, “Wow… It was so fun!~” when I asked directly, “How was it?”
During the panel discussion, it was exciting to listen to some panelists who stated their controversial views about the movie and the situation that new media caused. Also, we had active discussion between the audience and the panelists. Most of all, I was happy that the panelists and the audience applauded Holly when she spoke about her opinion that “the more connected may bring about the more controlled. “ It was definitely a good education for her to get a food for thought about the environment that media and technology have influence on. Actually she got a chance to think about that “media do matter!”