Thursday, July 10, 2008

Survival of the Loudest

There's something uncannily Darwinian about the Internet, but I'm not sure it can be described as survival of the fittest. Maybe it's best described as Survival of the Loudest.

Take Digg, for example. Many moons ago -- well, we're talking months here, not years, since evolution on the Internet is highly contracted, making the growth of old media look like the growth of old forests. Anyway. Back on topic. Take Digg, for example. Many moons ago it was revolutionizing that budding thing called social media. People could go into Digg with a recommended story, and, huzzah, share it with the world. Why does social media sound like the peanut galleries I used to be a member of in college, the kind that made the professors mad and actually got me kicked out of one class? But now, Digg is the old, established media, and there is growing disgruntlement. Digg is getting too corporate, too censorial, too prone to allowing others to curry favor. Just like old media. So the even newer new media is popping up to try to supplant and usurp evil empires such as Digg. Given a few months, these new entities, too, will be regarded as old hat, charismatically evil, and such. The new one will always win because, on the Internet, we're all first adopters, crazily searching out the new, big thing and scratching at the doors to be let in so we can be the first to soil the carpets.

This is bloviation at its best, by the way. And I don't mean to single out Digg. It's just a site that popped to mind, but the same can be said of so many other sites.

You hear a lot of criticism about old media on the web. The criticism most bandied out is the "presumed guilty" attitude many in old media take. But isn't that pretty much the stance of most of new media as well? Controversey is what draws those eyeballs, isn't it? Doesn't seem to matter if the eyeballs are drawn to TV screens, dead editions or computer monitors. And for new media to scold old media for that kind of reprehensible behavior is very hypocritical.

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