The Importance of Situational Awareness

In chapter 10 of Hermida’s, “Tell Everyone,” he talks about how a German WW1 pilot was so successful, since he was the first person to realize the importance of situational awareness when it comes to dogfights. Hermida applied this same thinking to the situational awareness we need to have when it comes to social media. We need to constantly find our bearings, know what is important and what is not, and act accordingly. I think this is a great way of thinking about it, and I can relate Hermida’s point to the current day as well.

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I am an avid gamer. I always have been, and probably always will. One of my favorite games right now is Overwatch. It is a hyper-competitive, 6v6 objective-based game. Players can choose from 24 (soon to be 25) radically different characters, all with different abilities, play-styles, and uses. Being able to aim well and use your abilities effectively allows your competitive skill ranking to be pretty good (2000-3000 SR). But if you have good situational awareness, you skill ranking can go up 1000+. This is a game where situational awareness is ridiculously important. Just like Hermida says about the dogfights of WW1, in Overwatch you need to make split-second decisions and always know where everyone is. Is someone flanking us? Where are all my teammates? Do they have their abilities? Are they injured? Where are the enemies? Do they have their abilities? Are any enemies by themselves, easy to kill? Whose footsteps do I hear? You have to keep all of these things in mind all the time when playing, and this skill is what separates a good player from a great player.

Situational awareness is also important in the world we live in today. When you are bombarded with a constant feed of information, you need to find out what is important or what pertains to you just by a quick glance. Long gone are the days of reading all the way through a newspaper. People want their information that they think is important, fast, and that’s it. We have developed such a keen sense of situational (informational) awareness because of the technology boom, and it is especially noticeable on social media.

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How Social Media Prevents Foreign Films

In chapter 7 of Hermida’s book, “Tell Everyone,” he talks about how social media buzz before a movie’s release can make or break a movie’s success. I agree with him completely that social media and hype before a movie are huge factors in a movie’s success, and that minimal talk about a movie before it releases can really hurt it.

I see this personally all the time. As a huge fan of anime and foreign films, it is very hard to see the films I want to at the movie theater. Since they are not talked about nearly as much as blockbuster films, they are rarely even shown in theaters near me. There are about four movies a year that seep through the cracks and make it into the theater I go to, but they only have one showing, usually at an inconvenient time, in a small theater, and tickets are more expensive. All of this is caused by the theater not thinking many people will see it. It is a potential risk to show this movie, as it may not generate as much money as putting another movie in that theater. But if more people talked about it on social media, the theater would realize just how many people would pay to see it theaters, and more of these types of movies would be released, with more showings.

IMG_2292I can even point to an example of this today. Later tonight, my movie theater is showing the first three episodes of a new anime as a mini-marathon. Unfortunately, there is only one showing, and I would have never found out about it if I did not regularly check my local theaters’ showtimes for these types of movies. But how can the theater think that only a few people will go, when they do not advertise the movie/marathon at all? You would never even know this existed unless you went to the specific day and looked at all the movies being played. I think this part falls on the theater and Funimation, the company releasing the film in America. They did not publicize the marathon at all, they did not even air one trailer on TV, or a single ad online about it. Of course only a few people will go, because only a very small few will find out about it! (I just checked earlier today, and they added a second showing and put the film at the top of the movie list on the mobile app, which is awesome! But they should have done that a week ago. . .)

Theaters, and the companies releasing the films, need to advertise these movies, then I know more people will go, which will be better for everyone. Your Name, an anime movie by Makoto Shinkai, was only available at one theater where I live, and there were minimal showings. This movie was the fourth-highest grossing movie of all time in Japan, and the second-highest grossing animated movie of all time in Japan. Had they done anything to publicize it, whether it be trailers, ads, or social media posts, so many more people would have gone. So social media definitely plays a huge role in the success of a movie, which sucks for me, because the movies I love do not generate any talk, leading to poorer and fewer releases.