The cinephile (man) in the Facebook era

The cinephile on social media

The cinephile, but more generally man, in the era of Facebook, is an avatar without face or voice, an expert on everything who knows nothing and can take part in any group or discussion at his discretion. He finally he can make his voice heard and not passively suffer the televised debate.

Moderators, filters and private groups are just a red herring. Social media seem to strongly affirm that there are no teachers and disciples, experts and students, professionals and amateurs, cinephiles and mere spectators. But that we are all “democratically” equal. May we become one, formless, Universal Consciousness.

The intentions were good but the concrete result is a deafening hum, a meaningless background noise compared to which the horde of the stadium full on Sunday is simply a joke. At first, the social phenomenon seemed promising and full of potential.

The true face of social media

Then it evolved and revealed itself for what it is: from the privacy scandals, from the initial enthusiasm for the potential of marketing and communication to a giant storage machine for data and advertisements, capable of conditioning entire states and to give little or nothing in return.

Facebook and other mainstream social media built their fortune in the era of the loneliness of the average American man in big cities, and then became a worldwide phenomenon to which people trust with confidence contacts, relationships, life events, interests , emotions, photo albums. The most intimate part of their earthly existence.

In short, the entire life of millions of people has been “contracted out” by Facebook, according to the logic of freedom of initiative with which we arrive at a more extreme paradox than the ending of Interstellar: there are those who can have the data of the entire world population, learn more about them and their interests more than they do themselves, but it is not possible to contact any office or “internal department” of these organizations for clarification on certain topics. If you think I’m exaggerating, try to have these contacts for yourself: behind a facade customer service, which has the same skills as an average user, you will find the dark.

These data, transformed into billions of dollars, give businesses and individuals the impression of extraordinary advertising campaigns and communication faculties by leveraging some very powerful psychological weaknesses known for a few millennia. Branding, fame, prestige, the claim to exist is more powerful than the interest in money.

The dynamics of social cinephiles

The cinephile dynamic is this: a passionate and well-intentioned cinephile creates a niche group, for example of experimental cinema 70s. The principle on which these social networks grow and earn money is precisely to aggregate and keep people on the platform to show advertisements every 3/4 scrolling post.

Anyone who feels like a “cinephile” can join a group, have a say about her, even if there is the illusion of administering, moderating, limiting access by the creators of the pages. Just like anyone who feels like a politician, he can start campaigning in some political group.

Over time people increase, participants become thousands, it seems the success of the willing creator of the group or page, but the result will be only one: a crowd of people increasingly unable to understand the nuances of any topic or proposal , with a huge background hum.

A stadium choir, an increasingly homologated mass that has the appearance of communicating but does not write or read, speak or listen. The goal is not to talk about a specific topic but to show ads to as many people as possible.

If you don’t accept these criteria, these “digital organisms”, they simply expel you like waste. Any digital project, group, page, or social session ends up in the trash.

The pinnacle of mass culture

It is mass culture to the nth degree, where the crowd is more and more successful than the small community that tries to keep the thread of a speech. The sensible and constructive discourse does not interest the owners of the platforms, it is dangerous for the monopoly, while the crowd, the mass that throngs and shouts without criteria to have its say on all kinds of topics, is the ideal ground for showing the ads.

Large organizations that aim to monopolize their sectors find their ideal ally in social media, to annihilate free thought and divert attention to their brands and products. While small businesses will simply settle for someone finally talking about them.

Ads that will be received little or nothing by consumers and will yield crumbs to companies, but this does not matter: the hunger for social interaction, now increasingly rare in reality, has been satisfied, and the large multinationals are the only ones to profit from it .

Their goal is: everyone at home, on Facebook, and with their credit card in hand. The social cinephile who says her about movies is the same as any other man or woman who claims her right of opinion on any kind of topic.

In the Facebook “cinephile” group, thanks to the dynamics of indiscriminate aggregation, we can never really talk about art cinema. We always end up talking about what the show business of the present wants to make people believe to be valuable and to sell.

If you eat bread and polenta every day for decades, you’ll end up believing it’s caviar and oysters. But to really understand the value of things (and films) you have to wait decades for them to reveal themselves: at that point the profit interests of the speculators will be reduced and the thing will begin to present itself for what it really is.

A damage will still remain, because if it was talked about in its time then the historicization will also be affected. But the longer the time, the more only the real value remains. There are thousands of artists who won prizes and laurels 50 years ago, they were considered geniuses, but it seems that today no one has ever heard their name. I like to think that in a few years the infamous Netflix series that wanted to replace quality cinema will be just a memory.

Who could have imagined a mass homologation of this proportions? A homologation that could be summarized as follows: social networks are the Universal Consciousness privatized and monopolized by large profit-making companies. Small girls are not admitted to the competition. I can’t imagine a more science fiction conflict of interest.

Fabio Del Greco

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