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Current Doctor Who Warns Against Facebook 218

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-your-friend-requests dept.
judgecorp writes "Matt Smith, the current actor playing Doctor Who, doesn't use Facebook or Twitter, despite his geek icon status. He worries that social media encourages us to create "surrogate versions" or "celebrity versions" of ourselves. He also, arguably, doesn't need their help, being a celebrity already. Smith made the comments in St Petersburg, where he hosted the final of Microsoft's Imagine Cup for student inventors, won this year by a British team with a mesh music-playing application."
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Current Doctor Who Warns Against Facebook

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  • Does anyone care? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by redmid17 (1217076) on Monday July 15, 2013 @10:06AM (#44284665)
    Use it or don't. Plenty of celebrities fall on both sides of the fence. Some love their privacy. Some embrace the public light and social media for all it's worth. This doesn't need to be a slashdot post.
    • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Monday July 15, 2013 @10:28AM (#44284995)

      Some love their privacy

      Davros (Revelation of the Daleks, Pt.2): You can not steal what already has been abandoned.

      • Some love their privacy

        Davros (Revelation of the Daleks, Pt.2): You can not steal what already has been abandoned.

        Or as kids say it, "Finders, Keepers" ;-)

  • The Doctor (Score:2, Informative)

    by Galaga88 (148206)

    Before anybody rants about them calling him "Doctor Who" rather than The Doctor: I'm a huge Who fan and I call him Doctor Who when talking to people who aren't necessarily fans. Saves a lot of time and confusion for everybody.

    • I like to call him Herr Doktor and picture him with a monocle. Then I pretend he's the antagonist. It really makes you understand why everyone wants to kill him.

    • Re:The Doctor (Score:5, Informative)

      by TWX (665546) on Monday July 15, 2013 @10:42AM (#44285199)
      In everyone else's defense, they've been terribly inconsistent about the "the Doctor" versus "Doctor Who" throughout the show's 50 years. There was an era when the license plate on a vehicle of the Doctor's was "WHO", and the credits have occasionally listed the actor as "Doctor Who" as opposed to "the Doctor". Then there was the overemphasis on the question mark throughout at least Peter Davison's and Colin Baker's years, and that might have extended into the Sylvester McCoy years, can't remember for certain.

      In my opinion, the 1996 TV movie that everyone claims to abhor has a lot more in common with the modern show than it does with the original run. It's almost like we needed a scapegoat for the change to be accepted, like how the George Lazenby James Bond movie is less well received even though one could argue that it's a much more coherent story than many of the other movies...
      • It's almost like we needed a scapegoat for the change to be accepted, like how the George Lazenby James Bond movie is less well received even though one could argue that it's a much more coherent story than many of the other movies...

        Most reviewers regard "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" as one of the better Bond movies, if not the best.

        • by TWX (665546)
          I like OMHSS best too, as many of the characters showed real character development, including 007. In most other movies there is no real character development, even when the lead goes through experiences that should lead to some.

          I think that's why I liked the modern Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, Craig's portrayal is allowed to both suffer and grow from his experiences.

          Haven't seen Skyfall yet to see if that continues or not. I hope that it does.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by lamplighter (73104)

        Sylvester McCoy's umbrella had a question mark incorporated into the design of its handle.

        The phrase "Doctor who?" and similar ones have appeared as a running joke throughout the run of the series, including a "Doctor Whoever-you-are" from Tegan when she first met the Doctor in "Logopolis." The only time the Doctor has actually been referred to as "Doctor Who" in the series was in a First Doctor story, "The War Machines" (1966); this is acknowledged as a mistake. The title of the series comes from the fir

      • Adding to the confusion, he was referred to as "Doctor Who" once (The War Machines) and one story was titled "Doctor Who And The Silurians" onscreen.

        You're right about the question mark theme. Sylvester McCoy (nice man) had a question-mark handle on his umbrella and a jumper covered in the things, though they did start to tone it down towards the end.

      • by lgw (121541)

        The question marks on the collars started late in the Tom Baker years - IIRC they showed up in "Full Circle". It was a John Nathan-Turner thing, and the question mark was part of the costume through most of his run as producer.

        Totally wrong in-character, but I suspect it helped make the show more accessible to new viewers, worked better in press shots, and the like. The days when basically everyone who got the BBC live knew who he was had passed, and the show was in decline, so maybe it helped. (The raw

    • by Cro Magnon (467622) on Monday July 15, 2013 @11:07AM (#44285487) Homepage Journal

      I'm not a Doctor Who fan, and when I first heard "The Doctor", I thought of the holographic Doctor on Star Trek Voyager.

      • I thought of the holographic Doctor on Star Trek Voyager.

        I remember that character, but I always want to call him "Dr. Cinnamon" thanks to a Mad Magazine parody of Voyager.

        The screwy stuff our brains retain and subsequently cobble together...

        Side note: Chris Eccleston was a better doctor than a lot of people give him credit for; second best, IMO, just after Tennant.

    • Obligatory xkcd: http://xkcd.com/1221/ [xkcd.com]
  • by MisterSquid (231834) on Monday July 15, 2013 @10:13AM (#44284773)

    He worries that social media encourages us to create "surrogate versions" or "celebrity versions" of ourselves.

    Creating a surrogate or celebrity version of oneself is precisely the point of Facebook. It is a version of the self that can be exchanged through a social medium with others. That "surrogate" self can be be cited, exalted, devalued, and circulated. It's "celebrity" for people who don't necessarily have access to major media channels and networks of people to promote a traditional media celebrity self.

    Everyone's gonna get their 15 minutes.

    The question, to my mind, is why Matt Smith believe this is any different than the media that have made a surrogate version of him.

    • For a couple weeks, I had a fake account representing Rusty Shackleford from King of the Hill (a notorious anti-government, pro-privacy character of course). There were a couple hundred other Rusty Shacklefords too. Is that not what you meant by celebrity version of myself? lol.
    • Judging by the rate at which EVERYONE creates accounts on Facebook or Twitter, soon enough (few years) you could be famous for NOT using it.

    • by jbeaupre (752124) on Monday July 15, 2013 @11:03AM (#44285455)

      I believe the term surrogate here is being used to mean substitute. As in abandoning ones real personality and substituting one created in social media.

      In the past, it was accepted for some people to have stage names (or nom de plume). It was a way to separate work from private life. The stage name could go with an invented personality. Sometimes it was a character name that became associated with an actor. They could ham it up, then go home. It only got weird when someone permanently became the caricature they created.

      With traditional media, that was limited and controlled. Not many people had reasons for stage names, and when and where they had to use it was easier to define. And the true wackos (unless it was matched by great talent) were sidelined.

      With social media, everyone is creating a stage name. And blurring the lines of when they are using it. They spend huge amounts of time polishing the image they project. They use it as a substitute for real interactions with other human beings. For some, it becomes a warped substitute for their actual personality, which they neglect. Not for everyone, but all to many people.

      As the actor playing the Doctor, Matt has seen some of the pressure to become the surrogate personality. To become the Doctor 24/7. He believes social media increases that pressure. So he's opted out of social media. And he's suggesting that others would benefit from opting out too. Not because there isn't anything to be gained, but because creating and becoming a surrogate personality is not worth it.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        With social media, everyone is creating a stage name. And blurring the lines of when they are using it.

        Not me, but maybe I should. I should create a fake personality for use on Slashdot that doesn't get upset when people say things that they would never, ever say to my face. Because these are the kinds of things I would say to them in person if they spouted that kind of offensive bullshit in the same context. That is, during the time when such things have happened.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well you can do the alternative with hotmail and ms services. create a real version of yourself for ms/nsa. the info is more useful if it's not beautified for fb.

    • But why? If everyone is a celebrity then the value of being one is nil. I know several wise and effective people who never draw attention to themselves- and most of their associates hold them in high regard.

  • by neminem (561346) <neminem.gmail@com> on Monday July 15, 2013 @10:14AM (#44284775) Homepage

    Or just, 'Matt Smith Warns Against Face Book'. We know who Matt Smith is.
    I stopped watching Doctor Who after all of season 5 blew huge balls, and the first handful of episodes of season 6 (except, partially, the one written by Neil Gaiman) were even worse. Still, given they've in the past mercilessly made fun of stuff like people relying on their GPS, I would not have been at all surprised if Current Doctor Who had indeed warned against Facebook, which could have been amusing. But why should I care about the opinions of a random actor?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Eunuchswear (210685)

      I stopped watching Doctor Who after all of season 5 blew huge balls

      What? Patrick Troughton was great, and I loved the Yeti in the web-filled London Underground tunnels. (And Lethbridge-Stewart showing up for the first time).

      Or are you talking about someother season 5?

      • by neminem (561346)

        Shush. You know what I mean. (Though I have watched some of old-actually-season-1. I thought it was extremely dull. I haven't gotten around to watching any of the *later* old-DW, though.)

  • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Monday July 15, 2013 @10:15AM (#44284809)

    Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of Facebook or Twitter either. I DO think they have their uses, such as Facebook finding old friends you lost touch with years ago and to be hang-outs for fans and clubs and whatever. And some Twitter feeds are quite useful, giving news or humorous anecdotes.

    But yeh, I've seen what Matt Smith is talking about. People exaggerate how "into" something they are, yet I know them in real life and the cause / sport / whatever they claim to be so into.... they maybe spend one weekend a year doing.

    And some twitter rants: they just forward something they heard on Twitter and feel it's the truth, when you dig past the onion layers and find out it's not. But, I read it on Twitter Umm, good for you? That doesn't make it true.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      the problem with his comments is that it applies to .. well, everything social.

      especially so to even letter correspondents which used to be popular for people to communicate - a lot of it was so full of formal bullshit fantasy they're not even funny to read, but that was the 'facebook' back then, you'd get maybe an introductionary letter from someone else in your field or whatever and start the letters... and people would write beautified versions of events in them - of course back then it was easier to get

  • We all seek to create representations of ourself, so-called "personae". We don quite another persona when seducing a potential partner than when we work with a colleague or talk with a friend. Facebook has extended the possibility, for John Doe, to do this, namely online. Of course one can choose not to have a Facebook persona, so did I. But having "surrogate" versions of ourself implicitly states that there would be, somehow somewhere, a "real" version. Which one, pray, would that be ? This alone underscor
    • by Jmc23 (2353706)
      Believe it or not, some of us aren't liars and pretenders and actually try to always be ourselves. This is very hard for the liars to grasp.
      • Believe it or not, some of us aren't liars and pretenders and actually try to always be ourselves.

        Indeed; conversely, however, some of us who aren't liars or pretenders have had to develop social masks as a means of survival, as our default personality types do not necessarily conform with what employers/other people in general find to be acceptable behavior, even if it harms no one.

        FWIW, while I firmly believe complete honesty is always the best policy, my experience is that being honest tends to do more harm than good, especially in employment-related situations.

  • But don't get all preachy about it either. Just because you don't watch TV doesn't mean you have to be the snob prick at the party who has to constantly remind everyone "I don't even *OWN* a TV".

  • . He worries that social media encourages us to create "surrogate versions" or "celebrity versions" of ourselves

    It's common knowledge that in a new relationship, the first year with someone you don't really meet them, just their representative. Everyone puts on a different face in public, or for new people. This isn't news to anyone who isn't Forever Alone guy. Social media doesn't "encourage" us; We already do it anyway. Social media just allows this to be more transparent.

    It's no surprise Facebook doesn't have a "dislike" button, or that there's no notification if someone "unfriends" you or blocks you. Even the web

  • who makes a living as an actor to rail against "alternate versions" of our selves after all we present differently at work with family, friends and loved ones - I do wonder if hes suffering from the same sort of angsty issues about acting that Harry H Corbet did
  • Seems pretty geeky (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sheik Yerbouti (96423) on Monday July 15, 2013 @10:24AM (#44284943) Homepage

    I know tons of geeks who eschew social media so I think it actually gives him geek cred.

  • ... more of a commentary around the importance some people place on social media. Slightly tabloid, this slashdot article is. Mmmm...

  • not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slashmydots (2189826) on Monday July 15, 2013 @10:28AM (#44284999)
    I noticed that a ton of IT students at my college don't use Facebook. And it wasn't some hippie fine arts college or something with people bringing typewriters in to be ironic, it's a low cost public one. So I researched it and in the #1 most likely demographics to use Facebook, the least likely group within it is IT professionals. I have a feeling we're all on to something, as I don't use it either.
    • by Bigbutt (65939)

      I initially set up an account to let the folks on my forum know when the server took a dump since most of my users are also on Facebook. Now I'm using it when I go on hikes or motorcycle trips. I can double snap a picture; one on my tourist camera and one on my iPhone in order to post to Facebook for my friends to "like".

      And I've been into computers/in IT since 1980. So count me in the 'least likely' group. There are a few of us (I'm not quite in the Senior Citizen group...)

      [John]

    • by MrTester (860336)
      I think Facebook today is what AOL was 15 or 20 years ago.
      AOL packaged up the ISP access with a web and email client. Users didnt have to be tech savvy and didnt have to know about the other ways to accomplish "getting online." It was easy. But savvy users found it limiting and too expensive for what it did.

      Similar thing with Facebook. Savvy users consider the privacy issues too burdensome and find other ways to accomplish the same things. But for the masses "it just works."
      As the masses become more and
    • I noticed that a ton of IT students at my college don't use Facebook. And it wasn't some hippie fine arts college or something with people bringing typewriters in to be ironic, it's a low cost public one. So I researched it and in the #1 most likely demographics to use Facebook, the least likely group within it is IT professionals. I have a feeling we're all on to something, as I don't use it either.

      Sounds like a good "Ask Slashdot" poll idea

    • by houghi (78078)

      Or geeks are in their parents basement for a reason: they are not the most social people.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Hmm, I'm not IT, but I don't use it because it seems faddish first off. I'm not google though, with very few people on the list since I don't go out and add everyone possible. Though given the idiocy that arrives there at times I can only imagine that Facebook is one hundred times worse.

      At times I am tempted to go to facebook just to look someone up, but then the feeling passes. If I keep ignoring an invite request will that person think I'm being rude? If I don't invite someone will they also think I'm

  • I noticed during my limited interactions with Facebook that people who are morons in real life are twice and annoying, rude, and stupid on Facebook. So much for an idealized, sanitized, celebrity version of themselves. I don't think it's true for everyone or even close to the majority.
  • Despite?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cajun Hell (725246) on Monday July 15, 2013 @10:37AM (#44285119) Homepage Journal

    [someone] doesn't use Facebook or Twitter, despite his geek icon status.

    Emphasis mine. That's like saying someone doesn't smoke, despite being a doctor.

  • There is a lot of smart about Matt Smith. I have a facebook account, but only use it when truly necessary, usually for development. I've always known there is nothing for free in this world and I value my privacy more than free internet socializing. I would rather PAY for an account with the guarantee that everything is 100% under my control.
  • ... elites not wanting their status undermined.

    Technology that has brought people closer together has allowed a great deal to be changed in the perception of things in many fields.
    I.E. Music, Movies, and more.... and now there is what he is concerned about.... star status

  • by s.petry (762400) on Monday July 15, 2013 @10:55AM (#44285361)

    Numerous studies have been done indicating that it's not just an alter-ego problem. Here [davidrainoshek.com] is a fantastic post on the deeper issues. As with TV, there are addiction mechanisms build in to keep you doing it. Of course lets not mention altering your brain waves and making you less able to process information.

  • old school (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Connie_Lingus (317691) on Monday July 15, 2013 @10:58AM (#44285393) Homepage

    yes back in the late 80's i owned a software company that wrote addons for a BBS system called the MajorBBS that was really one of the first true multi-user online systems available for the general public to own and deploy. the interesting thing was that, consistently, when sysops ran the numbers, online chat represented 85-95% of the use of these systems that allowed all sorts of other really cool things to do, in real-time, with other users.

    the point of this is that facebook and twitter are really nothing more then personalized chat rooms, and looking back it isnt surprising at all that they represent the 800lb gorillas of the internet because, to be honest, it seems that all everyone really ever wanted to do online is chat (besides pr0n and "research" of course).

    i think a facebook backlash is inevitable, like everyone hating nickleback or david guetta...i stopped using it except to get a hold of my kids about a year ago, and i enjoy letting people know i think its a total waste of time...now if i was younger i could see a lot more useful uses for it, like hooking up...but im sure Matt Smith isnt hurting along those lines.

  • "Surrogate versions?" that's kind of funny when you consider the vast complexity of what you're actually creating. social media is a not-so-private index-able record of events and contacts in your personal life complete with timestamps, pictures, anecdotes and exacting degrees of separation to others -- added bonus is the illusion of privacy. It's hardly surrogate when you consider the social profile may actually be MORE accurate that the IRL version.

  • "Matt Smith, the current actor playing Doctor Who, doesn't use Facebook or Twitter, despite his geek icon status. He also worries that social media encourages us normals to have more outstanding view points and to express our selves rather the welcoming our new meta-media overlords" -I for one welcome our new Microsoft music playing overloads.

  • by jythie (914043) on Monday July 15, 2013 @11:49AM (#44286023)
    For they do not wish company.
  • The Doctor Lies.
  • Every single celebrity I have ever social networked with online has completely broken any celebrity preconceptions I had.
    You, the fan, should not add any celebrities you really like to your FB or twitter feed. As it is impossible to keep the celebrity mystique without writing and CGI staff.

    I was so disappointed after adding Riddlick that I unfollowed him.
    And it was only last week that I got into an argument with the writer/designer of Babylon 5 on FB. And I came away from that with far less respect for him

  • An actor who is afraid that other people play out their acting fantasies.

    What a dick.

"Never ascribe to malice that which is caused by greed and ignorance." -- Cal Keegan

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