Has Social Media Impacted “Sherlock?”


The work that is created by fans of a particular show can be a strong creative outlet. If the show, movie, or what have you is engaging enough, chances are that a select number of people will be driven enough to create works of their own based off of it. Everything from graphics to stories can be created but it seems like the latter became a subject worth talking about as of late. In particular, it is the collection of stories based off of the British TV series, “Sherlock.”

Based off of the crime/mystery series of the well-known detective, “Sherlock” earned a strong following from its start in 2010 to now. The show is about to begin its third season on the 19th in the United States but what’s just as impressive is the creativity – and the vocal opinions – of the show’s fan base. Sherlock co-creator Steven Moffat spoke about the claim that the show pulled its ideas from microblogging social website, Tumblr.  At the recent BAFTA screening, Moffat addressed a member of the audience on the matter.

“No, we don’t get our plotlines from Tumblr,” Moffat said. This does not mean that he hasn’t visited the site at all. He made it a point to mention that he did visit the site once before and joked that it seemed like, “…a place where people who really want to kill me gather.” As those who work within a social media agency can attest to, when one’s work is out in the public, they are exposed to criticism from all sides. The fact that “Sherlock” has not only drawn criticism but immense praise has seemingly only left Moffat with satisfaction.

Moffat took the creation of fan fiction and the like based off of “Sherlock” in stride, which should be the case. This is evidence that there are people who enjoy the show and its many characters, turns in the story, and what have you. However, like with any show, there will always be fans that are turned off by a particular episode or storyline and believe that they can do better. While their stories may not reach the eyes of PBS executives, the fans can still showcase their work on Tumblr, in addition to other platforms where fans roam.

While it doesn’t have the same scale as Twitter, for instance, Tumblr is still a community that houses fans of various shows. “Sherlock” is easily one of the most popular and I have to believe that it’s because of this show that fans can create their own concepts. Yes, they may start off writing stories about finding clues and seeking culprits but what happens if their creativity is given fewer binds?

This is when more “creative responsibility” – in the words of Moffat – is seen.

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  1. Sanchit Khera

    I think also that:-

    1. The show promises and delivers every time :- Not a single episode has gone by that’s failed to capture the audience. Its got a strong storyline, that’s well integrated – start to finish. For Sherlock Holmes, be it a bomb that has to be diffused, or a serial killer to be nabbed, he delivers every time. He saves the day in each and every episode. That’s a promise. Something brand’s need to aim for in their marketing efforts – consistency in execution.
    2. Its got an aspirational lead character :- From the sharp appearance of Sherlock Holmes to his quick wit and strong deduction skills, he’s somewhat of an idol to a lot of people. Its the superhero effect, that applies to a lot of people that look for a role model in their lives, consciously and sub-consciously. Maria Konnikova is absolutely obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and her latest book “Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes” dives into the methodology of the deduction skills of Holmes.
    This “Super-Hero” phenomenon is not unique to tv shows, movies or comic-books. Steve Jobs was considered as a hero by many of his employees, as was Warren Buffet. Their unique combination of skill and luck made them inspirational and aspirational leaders.
    “We need idols to force us to think in a different manner. We need to test the new thought processes, and retain what makes sense to our cognitive selves. ”
    3. He’s got his weaknesses:- People like to watch him fail, momentarily of course, because failing is human. We learn from failures. His failure allows us (aka mere mortals) to connect with him for a few moments.
    4. Relationships:- From Mrs. Hudson to Molly, Sherlock deals with each one of them in his unique way, giving rise to multiple scenarios and situations. You can’t help but to put yourself in the shoes of Sherlock Holmes as he tries to manage Molly’s advances, and Mrs. Hudson’s constant nagging. Regardless of what you encounter in your own lives, you experience a sense of relaxed adventure when you watch Sherlock manage these complex relationships.