Posts from October 2003

Recount!

Recount!
: I’ve been knocking on the door to the Technorati Top 100 for sometime, but it’s a moving target. I get more links; they all get more links. But I saw this week that I had more than the bottom one or two (I can knock Gizmodo for a loop). So Technorati finally put out its latest Top 100 list and I’m not there. I demand a recount! Some districts used electronic voting matchines and they were hacked, I’m sure!

Bias

Bias
: Read Rosen. Is media bias a red herring? Is all this talk about bias in media about bias that isn’t my bias? Is all this talk about bias in media really about bias against media? Is bias bad?

Media Darwins

Media Darwins

: Many of us are trying to figure out and explain the evolution in media that we’re witnessing — and that we’re participating in. We want to know what it means about media and about us.

See the latest exchange between Jay Rosen and Doc Searls on cold media (dry, institutional anchors and attempts at objectivity) vs. hot media (more bluster and bombast trying to change our opinions) vs. blogging (something in the middle: we engage in media and we get to change our minds ourselves). It’s a smart, telling, and true analysis.

But I still want to pull the stick back and look at this from a higher altitude (where the oxygen is lower — so, be warned, it just may make me stupider). And here’s what I think:

Media is getting personal

: Perhaps it’s as simple as that. Media was institutional. Now it is personal.

By personalizing media, I don’t mean customizing it (My Yahoo, Your Yahoo, All God’s Children Got Yahoos).

I mean humanizing it, taking on the personalities of people, not of institutions. Consider:

: The success of FoxNews can be attributed to the rise of the personalities and opinions of its anchors. See my lengthy blatherings on this; see Rosen’s cogent view of it; see Bill O’Reilly’s own take, too.

: People magazine personlized all news, for now every story has a People angle. I was at the magazine at this tipping point. Once was, a big TV show on the cover yielded big sales. That ended with the remote control and its revolution of choice. The institution — the show — no longer mattered. Now what sold was the event in the star’s life. It was personal. And soon, it wasn’t just entertainment but news of any sort that got that treatment in People and everywhere. News was personal.

: I was also at People during the VCR revolution and I remember watching the son of my friend Peter Travers (the man you can blame for making me a TV critic), watching himself on video. For me, at my age, being on TV was a big deal. For young Alex Travers, being on TV was just part of growing up; everybody does it. Media became personal.

: The latest trend that ate TV, reality shows, is all about bringing people just like us — the unfamous — onto TV and making them famous, making us think that that could be us up there. They make fame personal.

: When Steve Outing asked me why Koz — an effort to bring the Internet to local communities — didn’t work and why I think our attempt at using blogs to bring hyperlocal content online will work, I stopped and thought about it — a rare moment — and answered: “Personality.” Koz (and we) had tried to bring the local institutions — schools, congregations, teams — online. But institutions have no heart. People will bring their communities online. It’s personal.

: And weblogs, of course, make media personal to the extreme: We put our own personalities and opinions out there for the world to see. We mix up what we know with what we think and whom we like and who we are.

We become media….

We put the me in media

: (Sorry. I warned you that the oxygen was thin up here.)

I think this happened for a lot of reasons:

First, it could. We got choice with our remote controls and more cable channels and VCRs and the Internet; we could abandon big institutions for the things that we, personally, liked more. In a sense, weblogs are only the extreme extension of that trend: We don’t choose from among 500 channels. We become our own channels.

Second, the institutions bored us. Fox is more fun that CNN. Simple as that.

Third, ask Dr. Freud: We all have egos and given a chance, they will emerge.

: Can this trend go too far? Of course. All trends do. If all news becomes personal and opininated, it will be inefficient to get an answer to a simple current question: Enough with the commentary, just tell me: What’s the score?

But this trend will not go away, for whenever we the people get the power to choose what we want, it sticks. Whenever people get a taste of fame and attention, they don’t want to give it up.

Media is personal for good.

: UPDATE: Read the comments on this post; some wonderful contributions.

: UPDATE: I was remiss in not linking to the “me in media” tagline at Corante’s Amateur Hour because I couldn’t remember where I’d seen it. Done.

Think local…

Think local…
: Hyperlocal weblogging reaches Germany: The Backnang blog.

American food imperialism

American food imperialism
: In Bulgaria.

Comments

Comments
: Heiko Hebig reports a new movement to create a cross-blog, open standard for comments [the link’s in German]:

Nico Lumma initiated a discussion among German weblog hosts to unite under an Open Blog Comment Alliance. The goal is to design and operate a central service (in many ways similar to MS Passport) to allow single sign-on comment posting across the blogosphere; for convenience, digital identity control, comment tracking across multiple sites, follow-up tracking, spam control, etc. Hopefully the 20sixs and twodays will join the effort. Through an open API the service should be able to communicate with MovableType, Radio, and any other weblog system. Change for the better.

: By the way, Zeyad wants to add comments to his HealingIraq blog (brave fellow). If you’re an expert on how to do this with Blogger and Blogspot, please send him an email.

Easterbrook redux

Easterbrook redux
: A super Charles Krauthammer column today on l’affaire Easterbrook. He says, as many of us have — and as Easterbrook has, too — that he expressed himself stupidly and that was wrong. But…

What is going on here? Jews are being attacked in Germany. Synagogues are being torched in France. Around the world, Jews — such as Daniel Pearl — are hunted and killed as Jews. The prime minister of Malaysia tells an Islamic summit that “1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews. . . . We are up against a people who think . . . they have now gained control of the most powerful countries. . . . We cannot fight them through brawn alone” — and gets a standing ovation from the heads of state of 57 countries. And amid all this, the Anti-Defamation League feels the need to wax indignant over a few lines on a Web log? …

Nonetheless, the idea of destroying someone’s reputation and career over a single slip of this type is not just ridiculous, but vindictive.

And hugely beside the point. The world is experiencing the worst resurgence of anti-Semitism in 50 years. Its main objective is the demonization and delegitimization of Israel, to the point that the idea of eradicating, indeed obliterating, the world’s only Jewish state becomes respectable, indeed laudable. The psychological grounds for the final solution are being prepared.

That’s anti-Semitism.

Easterbrook has apologized. Leave him alone.

: UPDATE: See Steven I Weiss’ cover story in Jewsweek: “Gregg Easterbrook’s not an anti-Semite…

…and the media just can’t figure out why. The anatomy of a blog controversy.”

Web terrorism

Web terrorism
: Michele has more on the web terrorism attack that took down many weblogs in recent days, including a link to a translation of an Arabic-language site praising the attacks. She is well and truly freaked to find a link to her site there.

: And here’s a Newsday story with much more on the attacks. Good on them for covering the story.

: And Hoder tells the web terrorists what for.

: And by the way, speaking of Hoder, he has added English summaries to his Persian blog.