Monday, December 18, 2006

We're Not Special for Creating Content

Time magazine named "you" person of the year. For reading this post. For posting a video on Youtube.


I'm still not convinced.

Time wrote, "There's no road map for how an organism that's not a bacterium lives and works together on this planet in numbers in excess of 6 billion. "

That sounds vaguely related to my comment, "With 6 billion speakers, who is listening?"

It's still a mass medium, but the gatekeepers are changing. As far as I can tell, about a dozen people read this Weblog regularly. That's not exactly changing the world.

You can get to it from a few different links. You can get to it from "Next Blog," but that's not really communication. If you got here that way, you were not looking for anything I had to say.

Instead, strangers get here from Google. And that just changed the gatekeeper from NBC or the New York Times.

Blogs that are read by the masses are still a mass medium.

Sometimes I write something good. Some days I simply phone it in. But in the 17 month history of this Weblog, the only real traffic came from people looking for topless pictures of a Texas high school teacher.

Sorry if being a dead end for softcore searchers does not exactly make me feel like a person of the year.

As somebody who studies arousal and media, I could have told you that sex sells.

I am a journalist by trade, thanks to New Mexico State. I am a communication scientist and a cognitive scientist by training, thanks to Kansas State and Indiana University. So I have some credibility to say some things about some topics.

But you cannot get away from source credibility. The more I have, the more I am an institution. The more I have, the less likely I am to just post random crap on the Internet.

Does that make me more or less like the person of the year?

When I was a reporter, I questioned dozens of sentences a day. In order to "say" it, I had to be able to back it up. Call me the establishment, but there's something to that.

It carries over today. I'm sure I could find dozens of qualifiers scattered throughout that last month's postings. I speak to the data.

And when I read something at, I have some idea of the vetting process that those stories underwent. Sure, stuff falls through the cracks. Mistakes are made. But it's not just fiction.

Youtube is cool. You can laugh at stupid people mixing Diet Coke and Mentos.

But it's not quite ready for the Pulitzer.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But it's not quite ready for the Pulitzer."

Maybe. Or maybe you're just not ready to be famous and on Time magazine.

Go Bucks!

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jon Stewart did a nice little thing last night about the person of the year and Time magazine on the Daily Show. Hilarious. It may be on again tonight at 7:00pm.

2:55 PM  

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