Thursday, October 05, 2006

Old media versus the new

The delicious switcheroo has come about. I wondered how long it would be before the mainstream media stopped sneering at the contents and activities of the Internet, reporting only the standard campaign negatives of Internet scams and sins.
It has been slow. Media has seen the Internet as a threat to its secure and traditional domination of information and comment - which, indeed, is not wrong.
It has been mystified and frustrated by the difficulty of making quick profits.
It has hired rapacious dotcom coyboys as consultants and tried myriad ventures - which just didn't turn that mighty buck. And it has watched the rising empires of the online population - the free sharing of information, the dazzle of human communications, the rise and rise of individual self expression and the challenge of the new and often expert commentary in the blogsphere.
Rupert Murdoch, used to owning so much of the media, has made assorted unsuccessful forays - most recently in buying the hideous MySpace which seems to have captured a mindless mass of youth. Now we read reports of its rising dollar value as a malleable marketplace. Even the American right and the military are moving in on that territory to push their perspectives into the cracks between the babbling teen titilations. One way or another, there must be a way for the mainstream to dominate the Internet. Or so they and their teams of overpaid consultants all hope.
Meanwhile, they have, at last, started using the Internet as a resource and recognising that it IS news. In fact, they can pad out their services by reporting on what is happening online.
At first it was just columnists plagiarising the email funnies, some of which were terribly old by the time the columnists got to see them. How were these mainstream denizens to know that the Internet had been a happening thing for a decade before they even logged on? They had had their backs firmly turned on the phenomenon.
But now email is ubiquitous - a must-have. Now the world is broadband, cable, wireless...
And it grows exponentially in the sophistication of its content. So the old media now looks to the new media and cannibalises it for its own content.
Which is why we turn on the television and see, several days or weeks after we have been sent it online, the latest brilliant YouTube video or EBay oddity. We now read about bloggers and even quote them.
Ah, yes, if you can't beat it content, make it news.

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