“Shut all the blinds
You mighta been seen
With your internet dream
Winning the race
For your digital fix
Living your life
With a clickity-click
“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.
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.
"Keram makes excursions into almost every style of music imaginable here and does it with such flair that these very pleased ears, he could have settled on any of these genres and made just as brilliant a record." - Mark Rheaume, CBC Radio