Jul 112006
 

Some of you might remember my post from long ago about the decentralization of media being a great thing and I just wanted to give an update on how it’s progressing. It’s going really well.

Times used to be that your only source of news was the town loudmouth, then the newspaper, then came the telegraph, then the radio, then television. Each successive improvement in mass communication allowed more people to become involved in the process of creating and releasing news. Since the advent of the internet, however, news can be very quickly and easily released to a very large audience. At the same time, news can be created or reported very easily by a growing number of people. Almost anyone (well, there’s homeless people with blogs, so I guess everyone) can start up a blog and start reporting about their local area. In fact, there have been a number of stories that broke on the "blogosphere" before they even reached television. Some of these website are becoming as popular as newspapers in big cities or small television networks. Obviously, the ease with which news can be spread and created has a price and it is in credibility. However, I feel that this very small shortfall is more than made up for by the other merits of easily created news. If you feel news from one source suspect, you may visit other websites or consult other authorities to confirm. Checking from multiple sources is also a great way to understand the issue from multiple viewpoints. In fact, I feel that the issue of credibility is greatly exaggerated by those who’s livelihood is threatened by this new media. There are many sites and the people behind them that work hard to create credibility and establish a reputation over a number of years. The news is one example of decentralization being an excellent thing.

The second example I wanted to give was about entertainment. In the old post about decentralization, I vaguely alluded to the increased compeitition being a good thing for the entertainment media. Sort of like a kick in the pants to get them going and working harder to be more creative and create better movies. I just wanted to reiterate that point here. Let’s cover internet fads right now. How many of you have seen the star wars kid? How about the numa numa guy? How about the "All your base are belong to us" movie? These sort of videos have been seen by countless millions. I’d estimate that each one of them was seen by at least 3 or 4 million people each. That’s not a small amount, in fact, some cable shows don’t have that large an audience. While you could argue that this is not a huge threat to the established entertainment sources, you have to realize that it’s not just these few videos. Countless sites, pictures and videos entertain us in ways that TV or films can’t. Some people, spurred on by these short videos seek out other, similar, sources of entertainment. Some of them find it at places like newgrounds, ebaumsworld, somethingawful. These sites have the capacity to entertain us for hours on end, and entertain us better than most television shows or movies out there. There is a small caveat, however, because of the low or no barriers to entry into the world of internet entertainment (or netertainment, if you will) mean that there is a lot of crap to wade through to get at the jewels. However, once someone finds these jewels, they tell a few people and they tell a few people and so on, until the jewel becomes a phenomenon. At this time, obviously, these things aren’t going to replace the regular television programing, but they are starting to distract people away from it.

There you have it, folks. Decentralization is good. It is breaking news to us faster and arguably in a less biased way as well as entertaining us better than many television programs or movies do. I fully expect for there to continue to be a shift towards decentralization in this way. Viva Le Internet! I suck at French. G’day!

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