a real reality show
January 11, 2010 11:59 AM   Subscribe

What to do for pleasure?
posted by jokeefe at 12:11 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

To hell with poverty.
posted by davebush at 12:29 PM on January 11, 2010

The Web Is Not A TV Channel

Then why do I get it from Comcast, just like the other TV channels? Huh? Huh?

posted by qvantamon at 1:22 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Just when you thought the grasp couldn't be more pathetic.
posted by june made him a gemini at 1:50 PM on January 11, 2010

This entire article came across as somewhat of a ramble. (Just like a David Foster Wallace essay! Badum-tch! Don't hurt me!) Allen is trying to say a bunch of things, and he says them basically in order, without any coherent attempt to summarize it all as a whole.

I forget where I read it — might have been a comment here, for all I know — but somebody somewhere said: When we look back on this last century, we'll see it as an aberration in which, for a brief period of time, information was one-way, from newspapers and radios and television to us, without us having a say in it. Hierarchies were formed over who was allowed to say what to what. Now we're going back to a model in which everybody controls what they see, and everybody can put out information to everybody else. There are still popular people and unpopular people, but no one person is deciding who is what. (I still get a thrill knowing I could write Neil Gaiman and say anything to him, and he would probably read it, and sometimes he even responds. Hell, I can even tweet Oprah.)

That puts advertisers in an interesting — I think wonderful — place. Advertising has almost always been one-way. I place something where I think you'll see it, and so I get attention. But the more the consumer is able to control what they see, the less able advertisers are to force their way into our lives. As a result, they have to come up with things we'll voluntarily engage with. They're revealed as people and as content creators, no different from anybody else. So the ones who are going to be more successful will be the ones we don't mind.

I'm studying advertising right now, and this is what excites me. When groups like W+K and Barbarian Group are given freedom to innovate, they come up with advertisements that I enjoy like I would any brilliantly executed anything. W+K's Leroy Smith campaign, for instance, with its treasure trove web site, with its accompanying video game that I show to all my friends. It's smart, detailed, and perfectly executed. It's an advertisement, yeah, but it stands alone as content.

On the mass-market end, the focus is on taste and subtlety. Google Ads was the first instance of this: Small advertisements that got attention because they were relevant to what people wanted. Facebook's upcoming platform is an evolution of that. I won't mind seeing lots of people selling me Arrested Development shirts and telling me about Joanna Newsom tours. They know I want it, because my profile says I do. So they gain a customer, I gain easier access to things I might like, and everybody wins. If I don't like it, I remove information from my profile, and Facebook stops showing me advertisements at all.

Then you have companies like The Deck and Fusion Ads, who actively seek good products to sell ads for, and good networks to sell to, and make small, tasteful, pretty advertisements. This is the classic ad model flipped upside down. Used to be advertisers were the middleman. Now they actively seek partners. If you have a Deck ad on your site, it says you're a respectable writer, and if your product is advertised, it says you have a good product. So advertisers, rather than being leeches, actively create something positive and meaningful. It's great!

The end result is people like Kottke, who write only for themselves, do what interests them, and, because people think they're interesting enough, are able to make a living doing so. They're content creator, producer, and advertiser all in one. I don't think everybody could survive off such a tactic, but it says something that some people can get to that position within a decade of writing, and thereafter enjoy complete freedom.

It excites me. The Internet allows people to get what they want without annoying/tricking/pandering to strangers. I think that was a part of Allen's essay, but I didn't think he was saying it particularly well.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:17 PM on January 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

Not even on WebTv?
posted by blue_beetle at 2:37 PM on January 11, 2010

I would just like to say that I am a huge fan of Shriekback.

Okay, fine. I am THE huge fan of Shriekback.
posted by Legomancer at 6:01 PM on January 11, 2010

Mmmm... Shriekback...
posted by Mister Moofoo at 6:41 PM on January 11, 2010

OOH, so it's just like TV only instead of the TV strangling us we are now ENABLED (by facebook apaprently) to strangle the internet by social media?

posted by shownomercy at 10:32 AM on January 12, 2010

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