Thursday, October 11, 2007

My (Your) Life as a TV Show- Live on Justin.Tv?

a column:

When I was a college student, I imagined my life as a tv series, complete with recurring characters, plot twists, and a soundtrack of hummable indie rock. Think the Truman Show, except without the sucking.

Freshman year was Season 1: nice-guy friends becoming vindictive bullies, romantic interests disappearing into nightclub shadows, and alcohol toasted to dreams realized and deferred. Brush that dirt off your shoulders, homie.

Season 2, sophomore year, new characters, new conflicts, new slang, when you notice the strife. Throughout college, motion pictures of memory would play before my eyes, flickering and flashing , sometimes intelligible, sometimes nonsensical, clumsy kiss feed the ducks stolen glance in the bookstore cold grass on the quad her eyes meet mine it's over and it aches. My college experience. Watch it on DVD.

Or don't. If my college life really was a television show, it would need a damn good editor, for nobody should be subjected to me reading Entertainment Weekly in my underwear. For every moment that I dramatically touched the hand of the girl of my dreams, there were fifty other moments when I ate a bagel-wrapped hot dog at Einstein's and studied for a class taught by a professor who looked like Luis Guzman. The Shins don't mix with eating bagel dogs. If my show was "live," we'd have problems, Houston.

Framing my life as a tv program is probably a consequence of my narcissistic, pop culture-infected mind. But I'm not alone. Recently, my friend Jordan introduced me to a lifecasting server called Justin.Tv. Wikipedia calls lifecasting " a continual broadcast of events in a person's life through digital media." In other words, the user puts up a webcam and lets it run for the whole world to see, capturing the user as she's sitting at her computer, doing her laundry, or dancing to "Crank That."

In July 2007, musician Jody Marie Gnat began "lifecasting" her, well, life for twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Uncensored and unedited. Forget my allusions to The Truman Show or "motion pictures of memory". Jody Marie Gnat's lifecast has no need for plotlines or memories, for she's always streaming. She's always moving forward. She's always live, and anybody with a computer can watch her.

As I type this very sentence, a ponytailed guy named Roger struts through a studio and talks camera plans for a music video to be shot with Jody. This is all happening live! And that' s just a little bit scary.

If my friend Jordan is right, Justin.Tv will become the next mySpace, the internet's next big thing. On a superficial level, the website is undeniably cool, but what's at stake? Everybody's already got a blog, so will we soon have our own web tv shows? And do all of us really have something worth saying?

In the blogosophere, we can at least edit and polish our comments before we publish them. But if you're Jody Marie Gnat, everything you do is out there. Live. Immediately. Some of us fear that our government is Big Brother, but it looks like we're turning into Big Brother ourselves. Watching. Watching. We can't stop watching.

Here's hoping that some of our episodes stay in our brains rather than our computers.


Michael said...

Creepy. Frankly I can't think of any real person who would be interesting enough to watch.

Alex Pollack said...

Creepy is right. A few minutes ago I skimmed the site and found a woman sleeping in her bed. In the background, in some room unseen, a baby cries shrilly. This goes on for several minutes, with folks in the chat room typing in all caps "WAKE UP!" I finally turned it off.

And what will happen if we witness a violent act on What will we do?

We'll probably type...

Anonymous said...

When i was in college?

That sentence makes me feel old, but i cant say it for another 2 months