My topic du jour lately has been how regular people are the new superstars. Media is changing. As Chartreuse so astutely put it, “Old media is begging for attention. New media is attention.”
So how did we get here? Hank Steuver’s got a guess: “‘The Real World’ went from exploring how to get your adulthood started (remember that its earliest housemates were trying to do something on their own — one was a doctor, one was a journalist, one was an AIDS activist) to a recurring drama of sloth, ill tempers, wasted days and wasted nights. ‘Real World’ producers quickly surmised that people prefer to watch other people do nothing with their immediate futures.” The seemingly insignificant is often the most interesting.
We are becoming the media and the media is becoming us. One is not taking over the other, they are just converging to become a single entity. Blogging doesn’t spell the end of journalism, it spells a new beginning.
It’s not about the speed of communication for speeds sake, but rather for recognition’s sake. At all times we are both producer and consumer. As McLuhan put it in “At the moment of sputnik the planet became a global theater in which there are no spectators but only actors”, “The mysterious thing about this kind of speed-up of information, whereby the gap is closed between the experience and the meaning, is that the public begins to particpate directly in actions which it had previously heard about at a distance in place or time. At instant speeds the audience becomes actor, and the spectators become participants.”
Hell, it’s even effecting Girls Gone Wild, “In the beginning, when ‘Girls Gone Wild’ cameramen first popped up in clubs, the women who revealed themselves seemed innocent — surprised, even, by their own spontaneity. Now that the brand is so pervasive, the women who participate increasingly appear to be calculating exhibitionists, hoping that an appearance on a video might catapult them to Paris Hilton-like fame.”
Fame is being recognized as a serious factor in people’s motivations. The thing is, fame up to now meant Angelina Jolie or 50 Cent, but today anyone can be internet famous.
The game is changing, for a long time, the only difference between the stars and ‘Joe Scmoe’ was the audience . . . but not any more.
TO BE CONTINUED . . .
Update (8/23/06): Check out part two, The Sniper Effect.