DIY Society

One of the growing trends out on the web is the idea of do-it-yourself.

From MAKE magazine, a geek’s guide to building rube-Goldberg contraptions, to services like LULU and IFilm. Media is easy to make, and amateurs finally have the tools to compete with the professionals.

So where do we go from here?

I think part of the dream is the death of mass media.

The entire concept of Broadcast is based on appealing to large demographics to sell advertising. That’s why pop art and media is formulaic – it’s an engineered business. Pump a bunch of money into hyper-produced feel-good franchise and reap the Neilson rating rewards. PR agencies and pseudo-news sources fling these ratings (and box office receipts) around as the top headlines, and guess what, people are enticed. It’s natural to flock to the number one event.

So there’s this evolution by artificial selection mechanism going on with broadcast media – a triangle between the general public, the media and the almighty dollar (advertising). It’s Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent for entertainment.

What Indie media tries to do is escape from the pull of the demographic-driven dollar. It started with the whole p2p/mp3 shindig that leveled the music playing field. If music is free, the willingness to listen to new bands increases, and the evolution triangle of mass media gets bled to death. I think mega-stars selling out stadiums is on the decline – taste in music is much more diverse. So you’ll get less bands selling quadruple-platinum records, but have better quality music, lots of it indie.

The Long tail is the newest battlecry of the indie media blog-sphere folks, and it’s yet to be seen if it’s effective in practice. Most of the amateurs are happy to have an audience for their work, but they need to realize they wont live like millionaires and moviegods and rockstars. They’ll make art for art’s sake and maybe break even.

So hopefully those in it for greed will die, both the undedicated amateurs and the dinosaur studio system.

What I see is small groups of like minded people sharing art – media-claves if you will *. People will be entertained, enlightened, informed and influenced by people they know and respect, not conglomerate appointed talking heads and executives.

Or, perhaps Google’s already doing this…

  • Mutated from the term Burbclave, coined by Neal Stephenson in Snowcrash – mini nation states that are sovereign and formed around a particular ideology or racial slice.
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