Letterboxd: Everything and Nothing All At Once

Among many reasons my blogging has come to find itself at a fairly slow pace, but I’ve already found a greater comfort in an audience that I built up over on social networking site Letterboxd. But the past few days of having established a following for myself over the course of two years has even left me thinking about what exactly am I set to gain just from the active readers that have come along. What am I gaining, just from having about 2000 followers, the eventual “like” for anything I write that I even consider to be of worth, unfortunately this is where a darker part of what could possibly be such a loving community has only begun to show its true colours to my own eyes.

I’ve already considered it fairly frustrating on my own end when people who only write joke reviews or one-liners get the most attention: there’s another point I reached where I just decided holding grudges against these sorts of reviewers was just worthless and stupid. There are a number of these people on the site, but they’ve opened my own eyes to a less cynical light. I read through these one-liners and then I get a good laugh from some of these people. I decided I’d interact with more of these people on social media, and what I found from interacting with some of them, they’re nice people.

At the hands of nice people, though, it’s also saddening to me that there comes a fair share of petty drama. It doesn’t matter the sort of person that they are or what exactly is the source of why such unnecessary tensions have arisen, but among many things I’ve come to see are just fights over some of the smallest things: some of which just go between popularity over writing styles, or even certain users and their own political orientations. Not that I’m going to name any names, but the experiences of being within the community also have left me feeling quite moody. But because it’s a social networking site, one like Twitter, where anyone can follow you based on your own movie tastes or their own writing style. Maybe for some, it could only be a start for building up one’s own style of critique – and then that’s where the best can come for certain users. They find themselves able to build up a following in this way, and it’s one of many reasons I came over.

Then to talk about the more frustrating experiences, it sort of comes down to what it is that people use the site for. But I’m not one to jump at people for saying they’re wrong for what it is they do, it’s just that there’s an extent to where it only becomes everything for some. Personally, my own experiences with Letterboxd and interacting with the many types of users have even managed to teach me about how I can manage a good image. I’ve been able to get along with people on all sides of the spectrum when it comes down to the community itself, but there are only a select few I tend to chat with so actively. It’s just that at the hands of petty drama that ultimately wouldn’t mean anything, sometimes everything turns so black and white.

But maybe it’s just that there was a point I realized how frustrating everything had become with numerous unfollows-refollows/blocks that I’ve suffered from many of the most vital voices that are present in the community. I like using these times as moments to reflect upon what I’ve done, but because of my lack of interest in wanting to engage within petty drama only resulted in me, unintentionally and inevitably, being a part of it. It’s perhaps engaged from my own oblivion to what’s set to come forth after what could only have come out so simply. Sometimes I know when something someone says is going to be exploding into greater tensions, but other times I can’t tell when it’d end up becoming a big deal.

There’s a reason I barely ever follow back anymore, it’s because this drama only forms aliens out of what people see in other friendly users within such a diverse community. For every friendly, supportive, and frequent reader you find yourself coming on good terms with, at the same time you’ll end up meeting someone who’s radical and snobby, others who are really passionate and willing to share with others and yet write as much as a single sentence or line – they just go everywhere. Why even bother, but why am I writing this blog entry about drama if this is probably going to inevitably feed into more as it develops?

Maybe that’s because it’s a part of the community I’m frustrated with. It’s easy to get so reactionary over small things, it only results in insults being thrown back at one another. And what good even comes out of that? I’ve come to Letterboxd only with the intention of sharing my own love of film with a wider community. But they can’t be the only ones who so actively hear about it from my own mouth. After having acquired a large following, I, the uncertain and generally nervous pessimist that I am, don’t find too much meaning out of how many fans I’ve acquired. I’m in it for the many friends I know I’ll be glad to make, because I’m still trying to work my way around the community so things would be much easier at least for my own future.

And for any of my own readers, I’d like to also say that it’s a wonderful place to be. I’ve used it to keep track of what I watch on any day, and to see other people just sharing their own experience with others, what more could anyone ask for on a platform like Letterboxd? For every joke review you’ll find a serious one, but then there comes a point to which this just turns into a game with writing styles – which it really shouldn’t be, and that there is my honest opinion. I run a Facebook group dedicated to seeing these people come and go, with a site like Letterboxd. And it’s only gotten me to appreciate my experience on the site all the more, just the feeling that people of all sorts can find attention in the mutual passion for films. I don’t understand why it all has to be some sort of a game, where people turn so vicious, self-centered and elitist. And maybe the writing can’t always be great, but is that really the most important thing?

I’ve taken the title from a Green Day lyric I thought would only be fitting, because Letterboxd can be exactly that, but continuing on with the song of my choice, “Do you have the time to listen to me whine?” And now with the program comes another song by theirs, “It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right: I hope you had the time of your life.” And from my ability to share with others who do care, it certainly was for how unpredictable it all can be.


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