Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Lost, Twitter and the Tragedy of the Commons: A Semi-Modest Proposal

Dear fellow “Lost” fans:

Hi there! Salivating for tonight’s show? Me too.

But I have a request. Please hear me out.

Like you, I’ve invested an embarrassingly substantial number of hours in this thing. And I can’t wait for one last season with Jack, Locke, et al. (Especially Locke. Can’t get enough Locke.)

But unlike some of you, I’m probably not going to be able to watch every show in real-time. Various life requirements are going to force me to watch at least some of these a day or two later on the DVR (or or Hulu in a pinch).

Which would be fine, except that I’m also on Twitter a lot, and so are many of you. And many of you want to tweet about the show while it’s running and during its aftermath.

I don’t know why that is. I get the idea of Twittering along with live communal events like “American Idol” or pro football. But you guys realize that “Lost” episodes were taped months ago, right?

Anyway, I’m not here to judge! Just to ask for your help.

My ask: It’d be really great if you folks could lay off the “Lost” tweets until a few days after each show. Because otherwise, I–and, I suspect many other people, as well–will have to make an unpleasant choice: Stop using Twitter for several days a week or wade through lots and lots of spoilers. (This is apparently not a Hobbesian Choice but a Morton’s Fork. Thanks, Wikipedia!)

Yes, I think it’s theoretically possible for me to set up Twitter clients like Tweetdeck to strike some “Lost”-related tweets from my stream. But not all of them.

I also suppose we could also ask Biz Stone and crew to somehow filter out “Lost” tweets from the mainstream, but I think those guys have more important stuff to do. (One other alternative would be to ask all you Twittering real-time “Lost” watchers to head somewhere else for a bit, like Hot Potato, which is supposed to work for just this sort of thing. But I can understand if you’re not up for embracing yet another messaging service.)

So. What do you think ? I’m not asking for much, I think. Just a little near-term restraint. Let’s say two days, max.

That lets the rest of us catch up–remember, East Coasters, that the poor folks on the other side of the country are three hours behind to begin with. And then we can join the rest of you, and we can all discuss this awesome show in 140 or fewer characters.

Thanks in advance for your consideration,


P.S.: I bet the smoke monster is Jack’s dad. Or something.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work