Last week Facebook pissed off a lot of its users, detractors and indifferent site visitors when it introduced its new feature: the "Timeline." As if privacy was erased yesterday, a good chunk of Internet bloggers questioned the ethos behind having one's entire life available in a social media platform. But am I missing something? Aren't we over the whole privacy hump already? Are people still under the spell of attaining some romantic mystery? These people need to get with it. This is OUR era: An open, free network of information, ideas and innovation. Non-transparent walls are not welcomed.
Facebook isn't doing anything it wasn't bound to do anyway. A massive social network that spent years building a base of active users HAS to raise the level of access and interactivity at some point. The only logical way of doing this is by highlighting and exercising the key trait of every user (and of every human being): STORYTELLING. The "Timeline" is a natural progression. Share the story of your life. It can be a jarring idea to embrace but put it into the context of your trade or field of expertise and it can be beneficial. Consider our trade as artists: Filmmaking/Promotion/Content Creating/STORYTELLING. It's a match made in heaven!
Month in and month out on this blog I insist for my fellow indie filmmakers to continue to brand themselves online and to intuitively share their content on focused platforms/dial tones. I think now that such a mammoth enterprise like Facebook will push for this kind of daily practice, more artists will lower their guard and finally join the already growing mindset behind an open network of creativity and content. From this, I think the next big hurdle will be in accepting the fact that piracy/appropriation art can lead to great things. Let's face it: We're not making money by spending money on short films and then uploading them to Vimeo.
So why not push for more "sharing" of our content? A lot of us already are: We have our videos streaming for free on YouTube, Myspace Video, TwitVid and so on. Why not have our work available for fellow artists to expound upon?
The biggest thing I can take away from the above video is the wonderful line, "You have to move away from thinking about content to thinking about community." I believe that the fundamentals behind the Creative Commons practice are what will save the independent film industry and will also propel our new media future. One of my favorite tweets from indie film pioneer Ted Hope expresses that yearning:
This goes beyond pirating work to share with bigger audiences (which is a blessing no matter which way you slice it) or appropriating content to elevate the source material (which is an art form that is making a triumphant return). There is a powerful analogy here: "Copyright" is the old version of independent filmmaking and "Creative Commons" is without question the here and now. Our new media industry is now a culture of connectivity, access and open doors. None of this fits the old business model of stuffy Hollywood agents, social status and studio doors slamming in your face.
Take this all in. Think about it. Get excited.
And if you're still one of those artists who hates the future of social media (Timelines!) and can't bear to put your work out there for those to experience and expound upon...well...maybe yours is a story/brand/image not worth sharing.
Below: Some recent works of appropriation art.