Let me be clear about this from the get-go: I do not hope for the disappearance of the professional critic.
While I appreciate the role of the professional critic plays in helping some deserving movies get exposure, help people make entertainment (and other) decisions and more, the professional critic is not (and never really has been) the end-all-be-all voice. Everyone has always shared with friends their opinions and recommendations in the hallways at work and in other social situations. Sometimes those conversations will include comments like “Well the reviews were really good…” and then continue to point out that said positive review was either very right or very wrong.
But now, in the age of social media, professional critics are not the end-all-be-all to an even greater extent. They are but one voice in a veritable cacophony of opinions and reviews that stem from mainstream media outlets, high-tier websites and someone’s personal journal.
I got to thinking about this when I saw that Ian, who does most of the managing for Spout’s Twitter account, posted the following there:
Do you agree with the critics that Twilight falls flat? Have your say, add your Twilight review here: http://snipr.com/67zzs
Movies, like most entertainment media, are extremely subjective. One opinion is not exactly representational, so having as many people as possible lay out what they did or did not like about a movie and why, the next person who passes that way point – in this case the Movie Detail page for Twilight – benefits from the (yes, I’m about to say it) wisdom of the crowd. The review has been, for lack of a better word, crowd-sourced.
Except that unlike most examples of crowdsourcing where there’s one cohesive finished product that everyone is adding to and editing, Spout-based movie reviews are a sum of their parts. This person liked it, that person did not. The reader can make up their own mind, a process that’s helped by checking out the profiles of the people doing the reviewing. By viewing that the reader can say “Yeah, that person seems to have similar taste as me” and assign the review the appropriate weight.
When you add your voice to Spout you’re not just influencing one person, you’re influencing unknown dozens, perhaps even hundreds. You’re adding to the permanant, community-driven record of that movie. Here’s how to help Spout visitors benefit from your insight:
If You Don’t Have an Outside Blog: You can either create your own Spout FilmBlog. When you write your review, just add a link to the Movie Detail page (there’s a button to do this when writing a post) and it will be added. Or write the review directly on the Movie Detail page.
If Your Already Have an Outside Blog: Say you’re this guy and you just saw Quantum of Solace. All he (or you) have to do is import your blog’s RSS feed into your Spout FilmBlog. Then write the review to your regular blog and include the link to QoS’s movie detail page and the post will be pulled in. None of your other posts will, just those that include a link back to Spout.
We try to make it as easy as possible to share your opinions on movies because, as I said, we firmly believe more voices make the community as a whole smarter.
Chris Thilk, Director of Marketing (chris-at-spout-dot-com)