Sherlock Holmes is one of the most adapted characters worldwide since his creation in 1887 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Now, I know what you must be thinking. What does Sherlock Holmes have to do with international media? Well, the answer is quite simple. With all of the buzz about the new Warner Bros. picture starring Robert Downey, Jr. due out this December and the BBC’s second installment of Sherlock due in the U.K. in January and May in the U.S. (I know, I’m bummed about that date too), it dawned on one publishing company in the U.K. by the name of MX Publishing to host a debate about which is making the best contribution to Holmes in the 21st century.
For anyone who is not involved in the fan communities (or fandoms as they are known) that surround the Warner Bros. movie and BBC series, this debate was relatively unknown. But, for someone like me who has a particular passion for the BBC series, this event was one to not be missed. MX Publishing planned to have some of the leading experts in Sherlock Holmes research as well as film directors, actors and any number of people who work in-depth with Sherlock Holmes at this debate. But, what made this event particularly appealing to me was the fact that the audience members and presenters for the debate were from all across the globe. Twenty-three countries to be exact were represented in the audience and they ranged from Japan to the U.S. to Chile. I just happened to be one of the audience members.
I won’t bore anyone with the details of the debate because honestly it was like any debate on any topic. And if you don’t care, you just don’t care. But, what I will say is that it was absolutely amazing to be an audience member for the debate. The presenters shared slides, made their arguments and even answered questions from the audience. It was almost as if I was an audience member in an actual auditorium instead of me sitting at home with my computer and headset.
So what’s my point? I know that’s the question everyone is asking. Well, technology is changing rapidly. It wasn’t that long ago that something like “The Great Sherlock Holmes Debate” would not have been possible. Yes, you could debate the issues in an online forum with fans from around the world, but you would have to wait for them to respond. This new software program allowed for the presenters and audience to meet in an online space and discuss simultaneously with only time zones as an indicator of location.
But, these advancements in technology have their pitfalls as well. A perfect example of a pitfall would be the fact that two of the presenters ended up locked out of the debate because the software could only handle so much traffic. The ability to hold debates virtually also creates the invitation for distraction.
I know this technology could be considered commonplace in any international business, and the concept isn’t exactly new and revolutionary. But for it to start making its way into popular culture that seems like a big deal to me. All of a sudden my little world of online friends who I used to only be able to talk to one at a time and at awkward hours of the night are now becoming much more connected. I can only imagine what this means for the future of global communication. If this is what we are capable of now, where will we be in five or ten years?
(The poster is from the Warner Bros.’ film Sherlock Holmes and is used for promotional purposes. To see a trailer for the sequel, Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, please check below.)