Academia Web

At the movies…

This post first appeared on the Media, Audience, Place Hub blog.

(Or, more precisely, “getting to the movies”, but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to drag David and Margaret into it!)

This week, students in BCM240 are asked to consider their experiences of going to the movies and think about things they might not have thought about before. Renee Middlemost gave a good primer of the task in an earlier post, with a focus on what happens at the cinema.

I quite like thinking about what happens before we get there – the social contract of negotiating access, times, who we’ll go with, what we’ll see and which cinema we go to. Here, as in many social processes, technology has become a part of the conversation. When I asked students to start negotiating what they would see, many turned first to search engines to find out what was on. Google throws up information via Google Now, particularly on phones, and on desktop shows pre-ordered movie listings for the nearest cinema with convenient links to trailers.

Google Movie ListingsFollowing the search, many students played the trailers on their laptops (and one or two on the room’s projector) to help get a sense for the movie. The trailers were used as the basis for the negotiation since they were planning the trip with other students who they might not know very well.

Contrast this with what might be a more regular social practice (as identified by some students) of one or two people initiating a group movie visit by specifying a particular film and narrowcasting their intentions to a set social group. The initiator acts as a central node in the network and the shared object around which other members gather.

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