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“SKAM,” the Radical Teen Drama That Unfolds One Post at a Time (newyorker.com)
59 points by wallflower 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 24 comments

>If a couple got into a fight in school at 12:40 P.M. on a Monday, the clip showed up on the platform at exactly that time, creating the uncanny impression that you were watching something that was actually happening. If the producers posted a clip showing a student getting dressed for a party on a Saturday night, many young viewers would be doing the same thing.

>“SKAM Austin” had many hidden layers, and the producers wanted viewers to uncover them all. The characters, some of them played by local teen-agers, all had Instagram accounts, and, like real people’s, the posts offered insights into the characters’ pasts and their hopes for the future. Collectively, the video clips, photographs, and comments imbued the characters with a depth that not even flashbacks provide in conventional TV.

Nobody will accuse me of being cultured let alone cultured in teen drama TV/Netflix series but I know attention to detail when I see it.

Sure. That’s impressive work.

The cynic in me though worries that if a TV show can afford to execute like this, what should we expect/fear from state-run psy-ops?

The original Norwegian version of SKAM cost less than a million (USD) to produce an entire season.

Fun fact: The original SKAM is a production by Norwegian state-owned NRK TV and radio.

This is an interesting new medium, built on the foundations laid by a number of media that came before it - social networking, reality tv, soap operas, etc.

As always, McLuhan’s 4 questions are helpful in thinking about it:

- What does the medium enhance?

- What does the medium make obsolete?

- What does the medium retrieve that had been obsolesced earlier?

- What does the medium flip into when pushed to extremes?


As a parent of a toddler, the future of keeping up with what they're paying attention to seems exhausting.

You won't have to worry about it if you get them addicted to books from a young age!

Don’t worry, every parent before you has felt the same way :)

Wow. This was essential reading for me. I wasn't aware that Facebook Watch even existed nor that SKAM did and reading this really highlighted how out of touch I am with what kids and teenagers are doing.

This sort of media feels like a true paradigm shift and is both extremely interesting and terrifying. Terrifying because the boundary between real and manufactured seems to be rapidly dissapearing, and interesting because it truly is a new form of created media.

Seems like an updated ARG

Yeah. It's not nearly as without-precedent as the author claims. Though its predecessors generally offered two-way interaction with their characters as well.

Yeah it's almost more a video game than anything. Reminds me of games like Her Story.

"Skam" is also the name of a extraordinarily popular throughout Scandinavia, Norwegian teen show on regular TV.

Across the Scandinavian languages, "skam" mean shame.

The connection to the Norwegian show, seems to be through the director, but what I'm really wondering is, how does the word "Skam" sound to american audiences?

Like scam?

AFAIK the original Skam also featured social media uploads along with the linear TV content. During the week (it was on once a week, and uploaded online at the same time), you were able to follow the characters from the show on Facebook (and probably other social media). While the show itself was quite popular this new way of doing it seems to be what the networks are mostly interested in. And with reason, it was a really popular show because of it.

As is mentioned in the article

Yes, it's a remake.

I don't like social media being used this way.

I mean, I don't like social media at all, i only use irc and gnusocial these days, but it seems dishonest and dangerous to use social media as a canvas for fake interactions. Like reality tv in real life. That's not something kids need to be interacting with on social media imo.

Facebook Watch, the platform this is on, is a VOD platform. Serialized entertainment video content on a video-on-demand platform is usually the raison d’etre of the platform.

They also publish the fiction via Instagram.

Your argument could apply to all media that exist:

“I don’t like $MEDIUM being used this way. Well I don’t like $MEDIUM at all, but it seems dishonest and dangerous to use $MEDIUM as a canvas for fake interactions”

where $MEDIUM can be TV, radio, comic books, etc. That makes it a not so great argument.

(your comment is being downvoted, and I am a big fan of giving grey comments insight in why they might be getting downvoted, so that they have information should they wish to improve their HN submissions)

Most media isn't interacted with, so no, not really.

I don't particularly care what the average HN user thinks of what I post. I post to share my opinion and experience. Most users are twenty-somethings filled with angst and frustration at a world they have no influence over.

It wasn't downvoted at first, but now it is. There's a small group of users that follow my posts around and snipe them. It's whatever. HN doesn't really ""moderate"" content unless you're doing thoughtcrime or bringing attention to some of the censorship here.

Anyways, Facebook is an interactive medium. It's not the same as TV or movies or music, it intrinsically carries a responsibility to maintain what users are shown. Sort of like a TV channel,and by this I mean the people that determine what is broadcasted. If natgeo suddenly stopped showing educational content and started shoveling drivel, the audience could just leave. (Bad example, since they DO shovel garbage on natgeo now... )

Facebook is not generally understood as an instrument of advertisement the way it really is. The same as google. The veneer of "I can message my friends and see photos of their food" is enough to fool most users. This is especially heinous with kids, since they are much more impressionable and I think that demands an obligation to do what it takes to keep them safe and help them avoid content that is not healthy for them, and also to help them learn to moderate their content towards that same goal.

Kids these days aren't as critical of what they consume. Now, there's eons of people complaining about "kids these days", and like everybody else, I never thought I'd be one of those people but I guess it's just societal upkeep to do it. Anyways, kids are not as perceptive as industry veterans when they are being manipulated. It's like New Coke. I've seen the world change and people change WITH the world. The new world seems to be about how much you consume, and not the what or the why of the consumption.

Anyways thanks, I guess? Your comment kinda has that snarky "go fuck yourself"-but-in-a-pseudo-friendly tone feel to it. Perfect example of HN's weird echoey self-contained culture.

Apologies for meta-discussion, but that's one of the reasons I love HN. Reading comments like that is seriously entertaining. I just find it so funny that when confronted with a situation where mods will ban you for being openly rude or vulgar, people developed a whole toolbox of backhanded compliments, snarky adjectives, and wordy moralizing to continue to get their points across. Don't take it too personally, and remember that occasionally someone actually is trying to help you.

And let me guess, you're in your twenties or maybe early thirties, you're a developer under some manager, nobody answers to you where you work, maybe you have a degree that you'll still pay for five years from now... Probably California resident but maybe not.

I'm sure some of this familiar.

These are not valuable attributes in opinions. These are people who could be replaced by one another, theres no utility or really anything redeeming about any one of them in particular.

Like I said, I post to share a 25+yr career's worth of experience, not to hear little kids tell me how to be snarky online. That's literally one of the most pathetic things I've ever heard.

HN should abandon it's weird pseudomarxist ideals of self-moderation/conversation and maybe talk about computers for a change.

Your demographics are off, but not by much. I think you're taking this a little too seriously. Going to assume you want to end the discussion.

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