Monday, 18 May 2009

From 'why?' to 'why not?' (how Internet changes everything)

web series
Really enjoyed this article by Clay Shirky in today's MediaGuardian: (Happy 25th Birthday)
"- editing is a type of creation as well as filter - the division of labour was clear: professionals managed the creation and filtering of media, both selecting and improving it; amateurs consumed and discussed it.

That era, when media were shaped by the scarcity of production and by the judgment of professionals, has ended.

The problem the web has introduced into intellectual life is also one of abundance, but an abundance of producers, not merely production. The speed and scale of this increase, occasioned by the internet and mobile phones and moving from under a million participants to more than a billion in less than a generation, make the change unprecedented, even considered against the background of previous revolutions, and the resulting amateurisation of media creation is still accelerating."

This in particular caught my eye:
Media companies have previously been anointers of the talented, by virtue of the production bottleneck. In a world of abundant producers, talent will continue to be scarce, but the talented will not lack for ways to display their work. This makes the market for talent a more ad hoc affair, less about artificial scarcity and more about mutual opportunity.

Even more dramatically, users who have one good thing in them - one recipe, one video, one political rant - can now produce that one thing and be heard by millions, without needing a contract and without securing any long-term audience. The 15th-century rationale came, at base, from the economic risk of spending time and effort producing bad material. Those economic limitations are gone; the question every amateur creator asks themselves every day isn't "Why publish this?" but "Why not?"

With legacy media - the only thing preventing bad material is "economic risk".

On the web, we decide what 'good material' is - at the moment through recommendation, forwarding, embedding, rate of growth of a community around the material etc...

I can't help thinking that attempts by legacy media to block or charge for content before consumption might in the future be seen as a way of maintaining a system for creating bad material.

Am I too utopian in thinking that 'good material' (as decided by the audience) will always find an audience, and therefore money?

That the only content which should fear a world where content is available 'for free', is bad content?

(click here for more articles I've linked to under the label RECOMMENDED READING)

1 comment:

Schadenfreude Pictures said...

Hey Story Gas,

Check out this British online comedy.

There's a trailer on youtube.