Welcome to the bloggy home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Percolate and general internet tinkerer. This site is about media, culture, technology, and randomness. It's been around since 2004 (I'm pretty sure). Feel free to get in touch. Get in touch.

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The Idiocentric Long Tail

Chris Anderson’s latest Wired article is mostly an introduction to his upcoming book. Not to say it’s a bad article, just not quite as revolutionary as the first. With all that said, the last paragraph got me thinking . . .

The mass market is yielding to a million minimarkets. Hits will always be with us, but they have lost their monopoly. Blockbusters must now compete with an infinite number of niche offerings, which can be distributed just as easily. Justin Timberlake still makes albums, but today he has thousands of bands on MySpace as rivals. The hierarchy of attention has inverted – credibility now rises from below. MTV and Tower Records no longer decide who will win. You do.

It was mostly the last few sentences that got me: “The hierarchy of attention has inverted – credibility now rises from below. MTV and Tower Records no longer decide who will win. You do.” I hadn’t really thought about it before, but this is right inline with my idea of idiocentricity:

[Idiocentricity is] an individual determining his or her own influences . . . It is what makes the internet such a powerful medium, and what makes blogs and other social software such a great addition to the web’s landscape. We have now begun to shift away from messages being broadcast to us by traditional media, instead opting for the route of the internet. This allows us to sit at the center of our media universe and pick and choose what we receive. We are no longer held hostage by the television schedule, rather, we can just tune into an aggregator and receive all the news or entertainment that we’ve decided we want.

As the name would suggest, we are the center of our own worlds. As Anderson puts it, “credibility now rises from below.” Millions of people are determining what they pay attention to. The world is no longer held hostage by the choices of a few programmers. We can now spend our attention anyway we want to. That’s powerful stuff.

July 9, 2006