Category: honor

Shut all the blinds
You mighta been seen
Sittin’ alone
With your internet dream

Winning the race
For your digital fix
Living your life
With a clickity-click
(Repeat)

“So every day I swear
I’m gonna go to bed at like eleven.
And all of a sudden its 4AM . . .
And I was just watching Youtube and
reading Wikipedia for five hours.
It’s like MAN . . . you ask me the
next day. I can’t even remember
what I was doin. Crazy.”

Tay Zonday “Internet Dream”
(writer of Chocolate Rain)

*author deftly opens his umbrella to protect himself against the thundering Chocolate Rain*

I have had the good fortune to attend a wide variety of so-called new media conferences, hear people who drive the “content market” speak about the present and future of the various “media distribution platforms”, how to “drive traffic” to your site, using Web 2.0 social networking sites to make friends where you would have previously just been tossing spam into the anonymous gray mass of stats , the importance of making your site interactive and sticky, how long visitors will wait for a page to load (3.2 seconds) and the importance of viral marketing.

They usually call out YouTube as the de facto turning point and how “anyone in America, and the world for that matter” can now “make movies with their cell phones” with the hopes that they will become the next “Chocolate Rain,” “Star Wars Kid,” “Lolcats,” “Tron Guy,” or that weird snaggle-toothed Japanese girl who just stares into her webcam and draws millions of views for doing seemingly nothing (it helps that she has a big rack).  Now a site like TubeMogul allows you to instantly upload your homemade insertion into the pantheon of filmmaking to virtually all the major “video aggregation and distribution sites” our there including Vimeo, MetaCafe, DailyMotion, How-To Cast, MySpace, Revver, and of course YouTube.

Jay Maynard is Tron Guy

Jay Maynard is Tron Guy

Have you caught on yet?  This blog entry is one big fat collection of keywords, something used in “SEO” (search engine optimization” and to promote higher “CTR” (click-through ratios) for my “affiliate ads” (but, you know this already) – another thing that they talk about behind the velvet curtain which now seems to enfold pretty much anyone else sitting at home bored and lonely and wondering how to get everyone’s attention.

 


And when they do, they realize they have not yet figured out how to “monetize” all this traffic.  ROFLcon, which took place at MIT this year was a conference for all the people who somehow managed to garner said attention for one reason or another and came together to figure out what to do when the general public shows up and says “Here we are now, entertain us.”  That’s all well and good but unfortunately the creators of these phenomena forgot to hire a door person with a cash box.

This is not leading to a discussion on “how to monetize you content” so much as it is underlining William Gibson‘s astute assertion that the very idea of Fame is becoming extinct due to it massive over inflation; if everyone is famous, then really, no one can truly be famous.   Everyone is broadcasting and those same people might be watching.  But are they watching, or are they trying to figure out how the hell these heat-seekers pulled it off?  Well that was then. So I get to my point: we now have this glut of Web 2.0 “guerilla marketing” -savvy ingenues who will stoop to progressively lower depths to grab a piece of the “eyeballs” / “asses in seats” pie.  It makes me feel like I ate way too much cotton candy with my mustard-covered hot dog.

It isn’t even the “content” that bothers me.  It’s that fact that everyone thinks that they can somehow pull the wool over everyone else’s eyes using the above mechanics.  It’s not just preaching to the choir, it is an infection in the culture.  It is indeed a virus in the system, that thrives at the expense of its host, adapts rapidly to any form of inoculation and then proliferates to any other candidate that comes within range.

Snap out of it folks, you’re having a bad fever dream.  You have tools at your disposal that defy the imagination of your former self ten years ago.  You are Marshall McLuhan‘s cautionary observation that the medium becomes the message – your very source has become your pitch, you are making trailers for things that don’t exist, like specters that haunt the territory where they died –  but lest you click-away at my posting yet one more iteration of that now tired cliche – recognize that I am appealing to you to bring something to the table. 

Forget viral marketing.  Forget spending your days and nights checking your visitor stats; these activities have supplanted the very act of creating itself!  Make things.  Make things that come from you.  If you still have something within that you can remember being distinctly your own, then call on it.  Viral videos are so DRM ago.

Have you had enough of viral videos,  or do you think we are just getting started? 

With all due respect to those who have died in the spirit of serving some higher moral…

It weighs on my heart that despite my strongest efforts I was unable to get through to you, though it is not surprising and unfair to my own efforts when contrasted with the coercive mechanisms devised by the military to persuade you.

I have buried many friends for as many reasons – suicide, illness, overdoses – but yours will be the hardest to accept, because you trained for your own death. And you trained to take the lives of others. The saddest part is that you employed your greatest assets – tenacity, loyalty, dedication, intelligence to prepare for this tour through darkness, whereas you could have just as readily exercised these virtues towards the light.

What are you fighting for? What is it that you are being indoctrinated with that makes you believe what you are doing is for a greater good? Your responsibility is to yourself and you have defied that. With this decision you have made, you have also forgotten about those who love you. You counter that you are doing this to protect us; this only underlines the naivety upon which you have based your decision. Whatever sense of martyrdom you are carrying around in your heart is simply mislabeled hubris and selfishness – the ripple effect that harm coming to you through your experience will create is a function of your decision. When a person takes their own life they fail to respect what they leave behind. It is an utterly selfish act. I am not sure if you were playing a bluff – but they army is gonna call you out bud. They want a return on their investment.

Recognize that if you had filled your hours with other data then you would have arrived somewhere else. The sense of inevitability you now feel and face, is a function of your own creative power. But now you have surrendered that ability to choose over to someone else and there is a price you will pay for defaulting on your own free will. It is like walking to the front steps of prison and asking them to lock you inside for no reason other than having convinced yourself that you are not worthy of participating in the abundance of life. You gave up that bounty.

I am certain that you have been schooled to think that what you have been trained to do is to think on your feet, to take initiative, to steer your own course, to live the impossible dream, to explore the world, to discover your fullest potential. But you have been conned and that is what hurts me most. That I believed you knew better.

You were the kid who got a job so you could pay for your own singing lessons. Who aspired to set a Guinness record for tap dancing the longest distance – from the suburbs to downtown, who wrote incredible stories of marvelous lands, who aspired to be a nuclear physicist and gemologist.

But this is not fantasyland now, brother. Your mortality and your fragility are both very, very real. Whatever insecurities were preyed upon when that recruiting scout approached you on the bus home from school that day – memories of being teased at school, of being different, of being called weak – they are what has delivered you to this momentous decision you have made, and now it is your path – one that you accepted, that you fed with your own powers of manifestation. There is no destiny in it – only the legacy of choices you made. But you have relinquished that power now. Now you are someone else’s property.

There is a time and place to fight for what you believe in. But you have signed up for someone else’s war. It wasn’t a threat to your country. It wasn’t a threat to your family. You actively sought this fight out and decided to jump in for a piece of the action. To “prove” yourself.

There are many ways to defend freedom. Unfortunately a bigger machine than you are capable of perceiving co-opted the word and transformed its utility, just as it has your understanding of what other options and ultimately rewarding and significantly more self-empowering methods are available. I will, with the same tenacity and determination continue to support freedom, peace, love, understanding, wisdom and I imagine to greater effect.

The only thing we have is to choose how we think about things and from that we manifest the life we will live. I respect that, and I respect that you had the power to choose for yourself. We make our own beds, we dig our own trenches.

I miss you already.

May God bless your path.