the sweet temptation of gatekeeping

rarely is something more exhilarating than the discovery of a new piece of media that you instantly become infatuated with. whether it has made you feel represented or seen, evoked an uncommon visceral or emotional response, taught you something new, or simply made the passage of time a less miserable experience, is of no significance. the heart of the matter is: you have made a discovery, it has left a mark on your soul, and now here you are – attached, and with a growing sense of responsibility.

you go through the motions. first, you need to let everyone and their mothers know about it. you bombard your friends with information on the content you’ve just consumed, and they listen to you alright, they trust your judgement, yet you can safely go to sleep knowing that none of them will get in as deep as you have, if they even decide to give it a go. second, you look for others like you. you move on to the internet, you find a community of people who’ve also recently engaged with said piece, all excited to willingly take part in topical discourse with you. this is your new tribe. what you’re not exactly prepared for is that with time, the tribe expands. more and more people flood into the groups, the twitter feeds, the forums, the meme pages; all as excited as you once were. they ask the questions you’ve asked, bring up the points you’ve already discussed, and share the pictures you’ve already shared. this gradually annoys you. that is when, third, you become protective. you set up an internal hierarchy, evaluate the rightfulness of belonging of those who’ve only just joined, maybe even gloat in the social connivance of looking down on them. and it makes you feel good, just for a small while. to be one of the special ones, those who came before, who contribute to the elitism of the media you’ve simply engaged with. mine, mine, mine. luckily, this shouldn’t last for too long. finally, you come to your senses and ask yourself – what is the value of a treasure if its existence is known to no one but the chosen few?

that is why, whenever i can sense an incoming wave of possessiveness regarding my media (here it is again), i take a deep breath and remind myself that sharing truly is caring. especially when you find yourself surrounded by an array of drastically various people and can rest assured that you’ll always have something to talk to them about.

ID: 13814478


Published by Life in Media

Website dedicated to the Media Life/Life in Media project of Mark Deuze, Professor of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

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