We write here sometimes on the new digital paradigm.
Web 2.0 is reshaping history, we’re told again and again. As I write this, I am listening to a talk by Douglas Rushkoff on the subject of Capitalism killing Narrative. It was put my way by a friend on Facebook, who I feel I like, though we’ve never met. The same goes for Twitter. Take a look, pass it on, etc.
As I write, the No 1 Viral Video on the web, according to Unruly Media is yet another ‘Amazing Stats’ breakdown tracking the rise and rise of web 2.0 phenomena. You can watch it here if you like. This is the second Powerpoint style presentation that follows this pattern, even using the same Fatboy Slim track, ‘Right Here – Right Now’ as the bed. This was originally used as the music bed, no doubt, because the amazing promo video for this track depicted evolution from zero to today in 3 minutes.
So, what they’re getting at is that we are on the cusp of another huge evolutionary leap. We get it.
The only problem with the digital revolution is that it is being led by nerds. Imagine Woodstock, 40 years young this month, taking place in a lecture theater, with an attendee-ship of 75, and showcasing a variety of 20-somethings in smart-casual ware, talking about how successful their diary entries are, and how successful you too can be, if you follow their advice. Ludicrous? It surely is. Revolution, it ain’t.
There is no revolution without some skulls cracking. Change may be inevitable, however it is also most unwelcome.
I understand that I may be undermining my argument here, but bear with me.
If the Bloggers shall inherit the Earth, as they all like to tell us they surely shall, I want to know who will defend it against Alien attack. Or the common cold. Or anything at all, for that matter.
You don’t save children by joining a page on Facebook. You don’t stop deforestation by adding your email address to a spam list. We keep being told that anyone now has the means of distribution to publish their every thought. We’ve written on this elsewhere, and while we embrace the potential, the evidence of the un-moderated racist invective on Youtube we recently experienced tells me that it is indeed not all good.
Compound this freedom of the DIY-er further, by understanding that you are, in a web 2.0 paradigm, being invited to volunteer your creative energies, to be harvested by Brands, for no actual financial return, and that many people do.
Can you imagine a hobby as a child, whereby you draw a picture of your house, with mum and dad, and this gets Branded ‘Wallmart’ or whatever, as it hits the fridge door? Well, that seems to be the situation.
If, as a blogger, you’re any good, new marketeer types are keen to get you on board, to increase online mindshare. Nothing particularly wrong with that, except that you’re no longer a DIY-er.
Big Business In > Ethos Out.
Again, you will now have to moderate the very vehicle that was the engine of your success, to tow the party line of the advertisers who foot your fee. Ergo, why people once liked you is now diluted and gone, and even if they still follow you for your online popularity, they have become, at best, only vaguely interested in what you have to say, because it seems to have just been all about how great Starbucks is recently. So, with sponsorship, content goes down the toilet. Picture this:
I decree this to be the Blogger’s Throne. From here, an invisible army of fawning Twitter devotees can be marshaled to contemplate the relative merits of one life insurance package versus another, albeit in a new ‘edgy/safe’ word-of-mouth way.
On Twitter, every day we get messages telling us how we can do the same. Find a trillion followers, stick on adsense, keep making people look at your “how-to-do-it” video, and the dream can be yours. A Billion Bucks a Minute right from your Toilet or something like that. If it is so easy why does anyone go to work anymore? And if it did actually work, would the end result not be a spaceship like the one depicted in Wall-E, wherein we all ride around on our hover toilet-computers looking at each others shit as a source of click-through income?
My advice is to go out more. Get some fresh air. Go look at the fields you played in as a kid. Get laid, then have a relationship with that person. Stop telling us about it and do it. And beware of the smart-casual shirt brigade telling us we’re on the brink of something huge. Just because a madman has a megaphone does not mean he’s not mad.