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September 23 2008

New media academic Clay Shirky comments on Dollhouse fans. Apparently the idea that fans have no confidence in the marketing department is strange.

I guess putting up with The WB, UPN, Fox and Universal's efforts over the years has left us a bit twitchy when it comes to the promotion of Joss' stuff.

I hear the network execs being blamed for Dollhouse's cancellation more than the marketing department. Serenity, I blame on the marketing department.

If FBC marketing does the same job for Dollhouse that was done for Fringe and Terminator, I don't know how anyone can complain. They will, of course, complain, but they won't have a legitimate reason for their complaints.
“The show’s about trained assassins with a high budget for haircair products.”

This was a quote about Dollhouse? Am I somehow misinterpreting this?
Less ads means more product placement?
Serenity, I blame on the marketing department.

I didn't see much of it, but damn that U.S cover of the DVD was just plain bad. Maybe that's not something they do, but it was bad. The reason I got the U.K edition. XD Now that was a cool cover. lol.

But I don't not have faith in this one. I mean, they do have some nice shows and that Terminator ad with Summer? Gah, nice. lol.
“The show’s about trained assassins with a high budget for haircare products.”

I cringe at the way marketing people view creativity.
A new Dollhouse error-per-sentence record!

The idea of fans being in on spreading the word about shows, however, sounds like a healthful alternative to fans bootlessly* worrying about how and if the network will do the job. (Especially since I'm trying it for my ultra-wee budget-of-couch-change web production.)

*Shakespeare word. Rhymes with "fruitlessly," kind of means it, too.

[ edited by Pointy on 2008-09-23 19:00 ]
So... Charlie Rose moderated a session at a conference where Clay Shirky talked about social media. And then David Kaplan wrote about it. I'm confused about who made the hair care assassin reference. And in any case the content seems interesting far beyond that one quote. Although that quote is kind of funny. I thought all of television could fit in that sentence if you just replaced assassins with something else.
if we get beyond the immediate knee jerk reaction to the gaffe about DH, there are some real interesting questions there- why be sure, for example, that you will like something when you have not seen it (or, in my case, for example, not like something I have not seen, ie, Fringe, because it comes from JJ Abrams)? Why decide it is marketing's fault, when in fact it has not yet happened? There are interesting sociological implications to these questions. Fascinating!
Good point Dana5140. There's no reason to blame marketing when there hasn't been real need for any yet. Marketing is of partial blame for the demise of Firefly, but still not seeing how it applies for DH.

Some of us might be anxious about DH's lifespan, but can you really blame us? There are scads of good shows (we make the assumption DH will be) which have been killed quickly.

And as for the "haircair", um, what's a cair?

And they have hair? Since when?
Who exactly is already blaming the marketing department for Dollhouse? If people are blaming them, it's for shows that are gone, not one that hasn't aired.
I don't see much substance to this really which is probably why i'm not a sociologist ;). People are pessimistic because they want to insulate themselves, put a layer between them and the potentially crushing disappointment of falling for a show only to see it yanked and because, everything else being equal, most shows are cancelled before their creators have reached their own natural end-point - just going by the statistics we should assume the worst. Added to that, those that don't realise there're different people working at Fox now are cautious because of Fox's track record, especially over 'Firefly' (i.e. their conclusion is based on a faulty premise).

And I also don't see many fans preemptively blaming marketing - just because Clay Shirky says a thing doesn't make it so.
"And I also don't see many fans preemptively blaming marketing - just because Clay Shirky says a thing doesn't make it so. "

Agreed. But now that it's been said we'll probably see that quoted all over as fact now.

Who is Clay Shirky?
He's a commentator on internet issues, especially "hive mind" sorts of stuff, the social aspects of the net. Not read any of his stuff but i'm sort of peripherally aware of him.
He says the internet runs on love.
I thought it ran on the promise of pie.
OK, that "love" thing was kind of sweet. (Odd, but sweet.) I feel like singing Kum Ba Yah now.

But he's still wrong about the marketing thing and the quote,"The show’s about trained assassins with a high budget for haircair products.” Maybe the internet runs on love *and* forgiveness?
I've been interested in Shirky's insights about online social patterns/groups ever since I first read "A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy" back in 2003 when I was a Friendster Fakester. He's also got great stuff to say about the Internet as a "place" where people have been shifting from just being consumers into producing and sharing, as well. Very pertinent to many whedonesquers...

My impression about his Dollhouse remark is that it was not terribly informed about the particulars, and somewhat offhand, but I could be wrong...

ETF: my 1st link wot I screwed up by cutting & pasting & not changing from template. Sorry and thanks, GVH.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2008-09-24 03:23 ]
Okay, everyone is pushing buttons on a problem that doesn't exist. I know we're an impatient bunch, but lets give them a chance at the very least.
QG, that first link isn't going to the correct place. I think. If it is, I'm missing the point :). I do like that weblog, though.

I don't see much substance to this really which is probably why i'm not a sociologist ;).


Heh, Saje. You don't see much substance, but then you go on to give us that substance. You old trickster :p. But yes, I think you're correct in your assessment of why people would have certain expectation/opinions on DH. But then again, we're all a part of this internet community, where we obsess (in the kindest and most intellectual way possible, but obsess nontheless) about a television show that has yet to appear, which is a factor that cannot be ignored. This in itself is already an interesting social phenomenon, because it begs the question if we'd be as into the goings on of this show if none of us had an internet connection, and none of us were tied into the social aspects of this fandom. I know that at least part of the reason I'm looking forward to new Joss Whedon material so much - apart from looking forward to what we're assuming will be new quality television - is because I will get to discuss new things with people I know on some of my favorite online locations, including this one.

Add to that the way this community influences the things we see about DH, and you have an interesting dynamic, which I'm sure offers sociological rich ground. Just take a look at the recent threads where almost no one was actually panicking about production issues, but so many of us were saying "don't panic" that the overall appearance became one of panic - as such in fact causing that panic and the in some ways even sillier post-panic backlash against the non-panic panic (which, funilly enough, at the end of the day, left us - as a group - in the same slightly apprehensive non-panicked state we started out in).

Those threads in themselves are already highly interesting social constructs. Not to mention the "opinionistis" we were talking about a couple of threads back: the fact that we're somehow socially forced to form opinions on things (like I'm doing now, in writing this comment), influences our outlook on events and makes us - as a group - see things differently than we would have on our own or in a different kind of social setting. I know I tend to have more well-formed and more strongly held opinions on things I've discussed online, than on things I've discussed with friends in a bar or relaxing on a couch, simply because words and strength of argument matter socially in a setting such as whedonesque or other online fora/weblogs (other things matter as well, obviously, but they play a bigger role than they do in 'regular' social relationships).

All in all: interesting stuff. But yes, like QG, I do think that this particular commentwas not the most well-informed out there, on the particulars surrounding DH.
The Joker in Batman killed people with haircare products. Although, maybe that doesn't count because it had to be combined with other make-up products.
You don't see much substance, but then you go on to give us that substance.

Heh, kinda-sorta-ish maybe ;). Guess I meant that, by itself, the article isn't saying much IMO (or not much that's new at least) and most of what it actually does say isn't accurate. I agree though, the social aspects of fandom and the new ways the net allows people to interact are pretty interesting in their own way even if, to me, people are just the internet's way of creating more nodes (kidding. More or less ;).

The more I think about the "opinionitis" thing, the more I wonder if it's a result of purposeful expression of all kinds. A conversation down the pub is usually more casual, less deliberate than a post on the net. You don't have as much time to think about it and you probably don't care as much about the precise content (both because you may well be drinking ;) and because, as you say GVH, in face to face conversations we have other clues as to intent and more chances to correct misapprehensions than is usually the case online - real life conversations flow back and forth in a way that's not always possible online, especially with international time differences in the mix).

(coincidentally, I listened to Stephen Fry's latest podcast on Sunday - thanks to MattK for reminding me it was out ;) - and he talks about the "opinionitis" thing from the perspective of being a columnist with a particular emphasis on how easy - and consequently tempting - it is to make mountainous molehills out of things that make you angry)

And yeah, it sounds like an offhand remark that Shirky didn't expect people to pore over and dissect. Maybe he still has a few things to learn about the social aspects of the net ;).
"A conversation down the pub is usually more casual, less deliberate than a post on the net."

I was actually comparing conversations on the net vs a pub (or other casual social gathering place...) and another difference is a conversation in a pub doesn't exsist after it is over for the rest of the world to see. Sometimes I wonder if people who read the threads here and come to conclusions about what we on the whole think about a topic realize that even if 130 posts are made and 30% of them are of a particular bent that it doesn't mean that the people behind that 30% didn't later change their mind after someone else came in with different information. The conversations are fluid, with an exchange of thougths and opitions as well as facts and new perspectives, but they are sometimes misrepresented as something else and usually something with more negativity than is really there.
Yeah that's a good point NYPinTa, people change their minds during threads and afterwards but if they don't post to that effect then the "permanent" record shows them as thinking whatever they last said.

There's also a general impression I think that if someone posts an opinion they must feel very strongly about it (or presumably they wouldn't bother to type it out) whereas in fact sites like this and others take a lot of the trouble out of posting - I might have "opinionitis" for instance BUT that's not necessarily the same as having strong opinions on everything I post.

I reckon cos we've been brought up thinking the "printed word" carries more authority we mistakenly apply that attitude to ephemera like blog posts (it'll be interesting to see how much authority kids growing up with the blogosphere and other so-called non-authoritative online sources give to the printed word - in a world where pretty much everything "written" has to be treated with scepticism, will people lose faith in all printed information i.e. treat it roughly the same as we do hearsay now, as per the old adage "Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear" ?).
I didn't think the fans were blaming the marketing department, I just thought they were not trusting Fox.

Oh, and Saje, I've never been personally aquainted with a newspaper article where I haven't found a mistake in the article.
I've read loads that I personally haven't found mistakes in redeem147 (apart from typos etc.) BUT when i'm reading an article about something I know a bit about there very often will be a mistake, often involving fairly easily checkable facts - the obvious worry being, if I spot 'em when I know about the subject, how many am I not spotting when I don't (i.e. the majority of the time) ?

But I still think it's true that people will put more store in e.g. a printed newspaper article than they will in an online article, even if they're both by the same writer, for the same organisation (not entirely unreasonably either since online articles can be edited at any point after the fact without accountability in a way that printed articles can't).
Re. people perhaps changing their minds mid/post-thread, I just want to say, for the record, that I disagree with everything I've ever posted here.

Including this. Hmm.
Funny, I don't remember panicking. Then again, maybe it's just me. Always been a hardhead.

GVH, you put forward an excellent piece, but I must disagree. I form my own opinions quite well all by myself.

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