Have you heard of Adam Aron? No? Well, a week ago neither had I. Mr Aron is no more than five months into his new job and has already said something a little controversial. He has said something that has made American cinema goers furious.
Adam Aron, head of AMC Cinemas in the US, has suggested that he is open to allowing the use of mobile phones in some of their cinemas. Now, I’m not sure if he’d permit taking a call ‘Dom Jolly’ style but I think texting, tweeting, Facebook and the like would all be permitted.
Some people think this is “the worst idea ever”, myself included. Some folks say they would simply refuse to buy a ticket to sit in a cinema with such distractions.
“You can’t tell a 22 year old to turn off their cellphone” says Mr Aron, and in many respects that’s true. It would be like having their arm cut off and if I’m honest I empathise with his argument here too, rightly or wrongly.
I often refer to that dreaded moment when your iPhone battery goes red, because there’s only 20% left, as ‘the iPhone sweats’ – the added tension of wondering where the next charge is coming from. Blimey! I sound like an addict! That’s maybe Adam Aron’s point, but I’m not 22, regretfully.
This got me thinking. In the hundreds, maybe thousands of conferences I’ve worked on there are always delegates in the audience texting, answering emails, checking Instagram because it’s important apparently or because they’re bored. It doesn’t stop there though! Some have their laptops out tap-tap-taping all while the conference goes on around them.
Partly it’s our own fault though, being encouraged to ‘extend the debate’ via twitter in some conferences. But does this all distract from the point being made by the poor person only being half listened to on stage?
Why is it acceptable to do this in the environment of a conference room but not at the cinema or theatre? Surely it’s rude in any instance, no? I mean what if I sat through a conference munching on popcorn? Acceptable?
I certainly don’t have the answer, but maybe Adam Aron does. Maybe he sees beyond the silver screen into the future! Or maybe we’re all just addicts?!
What’s your take? Acceptable? Rude? The norm? Let us know on twitter @rbgroup (when it’s not rude to do so…)