Saturday, March 29, 2008

MeTube, Channel of One

First radio, then cable and satellite television, then the Web 1.0 divided the audience into finer and finer segments with narrower and narrower interests. The Food Network, The History Channel, each served an audience interested--at least at that moment—in only one subject.

With Web 2.0, the Internet has now reached the ultimate audience segment with the narrowest of interests: me The producers of shaky lip-synching videos on YouTube, the chroniclers of the daily drivel of their lives on MySpace, the collectors of cell-phone photos from their latest parties aren’t expressing their creativity in hopes of reaching a larger audience’ they’re simply entertaining themselves. Check their site visit counters and you’ll find the numbers correspond almost exactly to the number of times they’ve visited their own sites to look once more at their own web-based self-portrait.

The self-producers know no one else is likely to ever view their material and they don’t much care. The lack of audience experiences of the millions of bloggers, posters, podcasters, that came before them proved that there is no interest in their work beyond their own.

It’s the creation of a work about yourself that is the allure to a generation obsessed with their own self-image. Read their literature—every story begins with “I” and most of them are about “Look at me; I’m writing a story about myself.”

What’s this mean for mainstream media? The time they spend in “me media” is time they aren’t in front of the tube, listening to your songs, or even reading your news on their computer screen. Even if they’re multi-tasking, their split attention affects their responsiveness to the ads you depend on to survive.

In short, MM, you've got new competition that you can't possibly beat by trying to be ever more relevant. You're competing with my channel on MeTube. Believe me, you can't win.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds

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