Watch-list: The Fame Factor

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Our ongoing quest to make the best viewing choices

from Digital Bucket:

I have a place on my phone where I try and jot down recommendations for “must see” entertainment: movies, TV series, specials, blogs – just about any video content that has been enthusiastically suggested. I intended to create a self-styled Dewey Decimal To-View List of sorts. The sad truth is that my shorthanded watch-list is a veritable junk drawer of disassociated titles, partial names, and unexplained details, that must have seemed helpful at the time. But in my moment of viewing need – there never seems to be quite enough attributes to help me make good choices. Thus the fame factor.

I often make my viewing choices based on the celebrity fame of the actor, author or director involved. I’m also brand conditioned enough to have leanings toward certain studios or networks, but my sense of fame is the overriding influence. It has served me well, even as I consider my short form internet viewing options.

However, I’m questioning if it is still a valid, or manageable filter for my ever growing to-view list.

Here Today, Gone – Today

Of course, fame has never been a foolproof guide to great viewing. We’ve all been caught off guard by the uncomfortable realization that the fame was, well, rooted in luck, or the aging celebrity burn victim look (unfortunate ambitious cosmetic tweaks). Or, even the sometimes unimaginable misbehavior that celebrity seems to breed (the spice of fame – I guess). I do expect some of that when using fame as my true viewing north. However – my current issue is that I’m becoming overwhelmed by the shear quantity of fame out there and my inability to incorporate it all as a guide.

As NYT’s Alex Williams recently chronicled in 15 Minutes of Fame? More Like 15 Seconds of Nanofame,  not only fame’s huge growth in numbers, but also it’s perishability; a transition from the celebrity of “microfame” to “nanofame”.  He suggests that the power and length of fame continues to diminish in the internet age.  I agree, thus my dilemma.

Left: Perez Hilton: snarky celebrity and pop-culture blogger.
Right: Left Shark: awkward fish-suited backup dancer during the Super Bowl halftime show. Credit J. Emilio Flores for The New York Times; Timothy A. Clary/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

It all gets very interesting when you consider what the face of fame might look like in the next decade- but that’s another post. When it comes to making the best viewing choices, you could argue that I should cast fame aside. Or- we just quantify a new sort of celebrity fame. Let’s not only consider the scale of one’s fame, but also their longevity of ongoing fame. Of course name it: Sticky fame? O’Reliable fame? Tenacious fame?

And even with Reliable Fame, what about binge viewing of series? Could one argue that a Sunday spent watching a year of Claire Dane’s work be as nanofame as the Sunday exposure to Katy Perry’s “Left Shark”? God I hope not. But such questions will arise. In the mean time, as I add Alex Gibney’s Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief, to my personal watch-list, the annotation will certainly include: Cruise, Travolta.

Editors note:  The barriers to facilitating content discovery are getting higher all the time. Here at Digital Bucket, one of our big interests is how great stories, and as a result great content, can be discovered.  It is a confounding fact that the very ecosystem that has created all this rich new content – has also made its discovery nearly impossible.

It may not always be easy to find – but great content endures. Great stories are still valued and eventually – hopefully- discovered. Over the coming weeks we will continue to explore the solutions, the resources and how viewers find their way to great content. We’d love to hear how your precious “viewing time” choices are made.  Please leave thoughts or links in comments.

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