When this tweet got retweeted into my timeline, I had to laugh. After all, the chance to snark at a live television event was why I hooked up the rabbit ears to my television (cable? What cable?) and tuned into the Grammys this past weekend, and it was part of the reason that I tuned in to the Superbowl. So in my case, @thegynomite is right.
In fact, live tweeting an award show has become something I look forward to. I love cracking jokes about them, and I love hearing the things the people in my timeline have to say about them, too. But lately I’ve started to notice something strange.
I’ve actually started to enjoy award shows.
I know! I’m as shocked as you are.
After all, it’s just not hip to like award shows these days. They’re overblown, self-congratulatory snoozefests full of things you’ve never heard of or seen, right?
Except… possibly not.
Overblown? Sure. But what’s wrong with a little spectacle now and then?
Snoozefests? That’s where the snark comes in. Sure, if you’re watching an award show alone, there’s probably not very much to hold your interest. That’s why people used to have parties to watch the ceremonies. Sharing the event with other people — cracking jokes or oo-ing and ah-ing over great moments — makes it more interesting. Live tweeting has returned that shared experience to the shows. Suddenly, you’re not just sharing the event with a few people in the same room. You’re watching it with friends from all over the country (Whoops! Except for the delayed feed on the west coast).
Full of things you’ve never seen or heard? That’s actually a great thing for an award show. We don’t need a consistent feedback loop to reassure us of what we already know is great — that’s what our iTunes libraries and our movie collections are for. When I watch a music show like the Grammys, I know I’m going to hear artists I haven’t heard before. Some of it I’ll like, some of it I won’t. But after the show, is over, I’ll be able to talk more knowledgeably about all of it. Similarly, the Oscars are something I’ve come to watch with my Netflix account open, adding movies to my queue as I become interested.
Oh, yes! Self-congratulatory? Certainly. In fact, that’s a difficult one for a lot of people to get over.
But there’s a consistent pattern I’ve noticed in everywhere I’ve worked and gone to school. Sometimes, people are miserable working there. Other times, people love working there — or, at the very least, they feel they’d be hard-pressed to find a better office. A lot of factors go into determining which workspace is which, but I’ve noticed one that seems universal.
Every school I’ve attended, office I’ve worked in, and theatre I’ve directed, acted, or written for that took time at the end of its year to celebrate its accomplishments has been filled with people who loved it there. Every similar place I’ve been that didn’t go in for that self-congratulatory stuff has been a place where its students/workers/artists felt trapped, unappreciated, and miserable.
It’s human nature to want to celebrate our successes, and when we’re robbed of that opportunity we feel under-appreciated. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how much we get paid — we can be paid in excess of eight figures and still feel like we’re being swept under the rug when nobody offers to pat us on the back and tell us, “Well done.”
All of which is why I’ve come to actually enjoy award shows. It doesn’t change the fact that my live tweeting is still 90% snark.
As for the business end of things — What does CBS care if you watched the Grammys to snark at them on Twitter? You did watch. Which means their sponsors got their money’s worth, and they got the ratings they’ll need to justify their existence for one more year.