If you’ve ever seen the movie Hanna, you’ll remember the phrase, “Adapt or Die.” Hanna’s father, played by Eric Bana, teaches his daughter to live by these words.
Since I’ve seen that movie, I’ve whispered that phrase to myself on a few occasions. No, not because I need to worry about honing my assassin abilities when the bad guys come, but because making a living with content does require that you adapt or you’ll quite likely meet your virtual demise.
Last night I followed a link on Facebook and read an article by a film critic, someone who makes their living with content, refusing to adapt. What’s worse is that the author, Kieran Turner-Dave, not only seems to refuse to adapt…he seems to want his audience and the whole filmmaking industry to adapt to him.
In his article, he laments that social media is drowning out the voices of true experts…professional movie critics. He even blasted Ben Affleck’s crew for using tweets about Argo from every day Twitter users. It seems that instead of using the standard praise from well-known critics, they thought they’d share positive tweets from the movie from any old Joe with a Twitter account.
Now, I am a firm believer in carving out an audience that is drawn to what you have to offer (in fact, I wrote something to that effect last week), but if your once faithful audience is evolving and demanding something different you better do as Eric Bana says!
There are two important things I need to address here:
1. You’re only an expert if your audience thinks you’re an expert. If your audience is now turning to friends or other Internet users for what you used to provide…perhaps you need to see your role with your audience in a different light.
2. When influence starts to change, perhaps it’s time to be more inclusive…rather than try to put your own abilities up on a pedestal. Here’s what I wrote when my friend and fellow writer Courtney Ramirez posted a link to the article on Facebook.
If everyday moviegoers are getting noticed by other moviegoers and are a source of information for your audience, it might be a smart idea to give those people a voice. Hmmm…kind of like Argo promoters did it. Maybe they WERE onto something.
As a big movie lover, I watch a good number of new movies each month, but I don’t seek out the opinions of critics. I go to sites like imdb.com (Alexa rank: 47) or to CinemaClock.com (a Canadian movie info site). These sites incorporate user opinions and give movie goers a voice, making them quite successful. They also provide plenty of other useful information about movies. There are also sites like Rotten Tomatoes, (Alexa rank: 739), that showcase and score the reviews from critics, also collect and display opinions from users.
Now does a movie critic who’s feeling the effects of change need to go into a full-blown movie database? No, probably not…but perhaps it’s time to do things a little differently. You can’t simply yell from your cyber-rooftop and demand that people see you as an expert and shun everyone else.
The world is changing rapidly when it comes to the dissemination of information. And it’s not just in the area of movie reviews. We’ve seen similar lamenting by journalists angry that bloggers are polluting their craft. Or professional authors who feel they’ve been overrun by independent writers on Kindle. Sure, it sucks when change come along, but you’ve got a choice and that choice is…
Adapt or Die.
Which will you take?