Technology and fandom - part 2

Mr Matt Laffey, in his excellent blog, recently reported on my post about technology and fandom (see here) and posed the question:

"do I also detect an ever-so-slight ‘disappointment’ or ‘tepidity’ toward the brave new world which social media has wrought on the part of Mr Duncan?" 

I thought it only fair to at least attempt an answer to this question. My answer is yes there is a certain amount of disappointment. However, I stress that I am no social media Luddite.

Technology has enabled a greater, almost forensic, examination of literally every frame of a Sherlock Holmes adaptation. It has, at the same time, made it possible to spread opinions and observations globally to hundreds of thousands of people in a matter of minutes. This in itself is no bad thing and I realise my comments about this may seem a little hypocritical coming from someone who has written books that have done something very similar (and perhaps it is). But if our emphasis shifts so that we get more satisfaction from our analysis of the stories than we do from the stories themselves have we gone too far? I like to think that my books, in their own way, lift the lid and have a look at what lies beneath but I think that I  maintain a good balance between that examination and my willingness to suspend disbelief and go along for the ride.
I suspect for the majority of people their position is much the same but there seems to be (if my Twitter timeline is anything to go by) an increasing number for whom the minute examination of details (of which Holmes would no doubt approve) has become more important or, dare I say it, enjoyable. This is just my perception of course and I could be wide of the mark (it wouldn't be the first time).

The ability to level opinions almost instantly has also removed some people's caution and civility mechanisms. If you quickly type something and hit send it is essentially impossible to undo what has been done without at least some people seeing it. In the old, pre-internet, days (yes I'm old enough to remember those) if you wrote a letter to a magazine or other periodical you at least had the chance to read and re-read it before you committed yourself to sending it. Technology has, if you like, made it far easier to make yourself look silly and upset others.

Social media, like any tool, can be used to both good and bad ends and I would not seek to reduce its presence (as if I could in any case). I just think that people need to remember that if they persist in looking too closely they risk destroying the magic. They should also remember that when you can be heard by so many people instantaneously you would do well to think carefully before you click "send".

Eliminate the Impossible is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks for the iPad/iPhone.

For more information on Arthur Conan Doyle and his time at Undershaw please refer to my book, An Entirely New Country which is available through all good bookstores including Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Classic Specialities, and in all electronic formats including iTunes, Kobo, Nook and Kindle .

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