18 Dec Person of the year: Me! You! Everybody!
Well, well, well… it’ll be all the rage for these next 15 seconds, but Time has basically crowned “Web 2.0” the official whiz-bang-iest thing out there right now. It’s all about you and me, and what we do with ourselves online these days. I read a great post over at Read/Write Web dissecting what Time got right, and what they got terribly wrong (note: this is not a “revolution”)… man, this is such a strange media moment.
Brian Williams, the darling of NBC, had this to say:
We work every bit as hard as our television-news forebears did at gathering, writing and presenting the day’s news but to a smaller audience, from which many have been lured away by a dazzling array of choices and the chance to make their own news.
Err… um, well, no. Trust me, Brian, those folks not watching the evening news, it’s not because they’re off blogging. (Mom? Remember, we talked about “blogging” — people writing their own news, opinions and analysis in an online journal. Here’s the presentation I did for you guys over Thanksgiving.)
Most people are fed up with mainstream journalism pushing one side of a story (hello, WMD!), the ridiculous celebrity obsessions (she showed her what? I still don’t care), the reign of infotainment — which has its own Wikipedia entry, by the way– over corporate news. That “dazzling array of choices” isn’t just the magpie-effect, Bri. That’s the “looking for the whole, real story” effect. They’re mostly not blogging, but they are seeking independent sources of news. And that’s what NBC should have been worried about eons ago, when the interweb first landed on your doorstep.
The other thing that kills me about these discussions are the people decrying the end of culture, news, life as we know it. Just because a bunch of people digg a video showing a guy getting kicked in the package doesn’t mean there aren’t some valid attempts at art on YouTube. Does anyone actually still watch “America’s Home Videos?” I’m pretty sure it’s still on the air, and that hasn’t ended the movie industry, has it? Making creative production easier doesn’t, on its own, reduce the value of something. Inspiration and humanity = still required components of producing worthwhile culture.
I work with some media organizations that are tackling the issues of what to do with this stuff right now. I reinforce with a few of them the idea that hardcore journalism is not going to be eradicated, ever. People will continue to look for their fluff and their in-depth analysis and reporting; I know plenty of New Yorkers who read both the Times and the Post. It’s a media ecology people. It’s getting bigger and bigger, which is a Good Thing ™. People will always look for content from sources that they trust; it’s that the way the trust gets earned is changing, and that messes with the mainstream/corporate brain like nobody’s business.
I’m more excited by the stuff I see out there every day. Places like Cruxy are exploding with content that blows TV outta the water. So, when Brian Williams and the other mainstream folks put on their sourpuss faces for the 2.0 evolution, you can just tell them: Awwww, you’re just jealous.