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The lost community

February 4, 2009

In my opinion, there are two ways to watch Lost.

1. Strap yourself in and hope the ride doesn’t get so overtly perplexing that you can no longer tell if you’re riding a roller coaster or a merry-go-round. You don’t care about the weird woman who agrees to store Locke. you don’t care about why Richard never ages, or Hurley never got skinny. You never wonder why the others didn’t speak Latin all the time around survivors, instead you simply sit back and let the shit happen, hoping that one day the rode will stop and you’ll be able to get off and look at the whole thing in it entirety and say, cool.

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The risk with this strategy is that there’s a real solid chance that you’ll stop caring what the ride is (see Heroes, drop in ratings). There’s a risk of so baffling people that they can’t get past the notion that no one knows wtf is going on, and no one cares.

2. Engross yourself in the content. Start throwing out theories early and often (it’s the seven deadly sins, they’re all dead, it’s time travel), join communities, meet people. In this example, you do want to know that the woman keeping locke on ice is Farraday’s mum. You think Hurley not getting skinny has to do with being frozen in time, and you’re at a loss for the Richard and Latin things (among others), but you’ll commit the time because engagement is important.

The risk here is that it takes up so much of your time that you lose your job because the economy sucks.

What does this have to do with social media? Watchers of Lost are part of a community. And to me, the show has to consider both ends of the spectrum, as well as people who are in the middle, mostly going for the ride, but willing to suss out a few clues.

The content of the show feeds the community in the same way the content of any network feeds the community. And the community can evolve different reasons for joining (in this case watching), and staying.

For the record, I’m in the first one, and I feel a bit like they are losing me. But then, at this point, I’m probably along for the ride to see how it ends, so perhaps this is a good strategy.

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  1. February 5, 2009 12:40 pm

    Oh, my dear friend Matt… I am firmly in Camp 2 in your analogy.

    I think Lost has gone further than any show ever in nurturing their online fan community. Finding their biggest fans and giving those biggest fans enough goodies to keep them hooked.

    Besides, at this point, you know that you’re just a season and a half away from finding out what the heck the Island is. Might as well stick with it till the end. 🙂

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