lovehate: Social Media's Roots Are Showing

Whether you call it "New Media", or "Digital Media", or "Social Media", the time is rapidly arriving where the qualifiers have become redundant.

I wish I could say that we could define the divide between "new" and "traditional" media as subjective or objective with the subjective being personal bloggers and podcasters, but it's a sad fact that most network television, radio, or last-gen media is completely subjective as well.

We cannot qualify by level of research or journalistic integrity because all generations of media waft back and forth through actually researching what they're talking about or caring about facts.

As the potential for to reach worldwide to millions of people has outstretched the potential of last-gen broadcasters, it's not fair to distinguish the two by using the term "broadcast". Who is to say that a live streamed web event is not broadcasting?

We cannot call it "personal" media, because some websites have essentially become their own networks with dozens of employees and paid "on air/web" talent.

I even tried to apply a tested and true model for me with regards to artistic pursuits which generally falls to whether the creator is creating for the purpose of the work itself, or instead is doing it for some other purpose which subverts a purer intention. Could we use "art" and "craft" to divide such media? Perhaps, but it would be essentially useless as we could never be accurate without asking every content creator and be assured they weren't lying.

We could use "amateur" and "professional", but the word "amateur" has historical been been seen as a "less than" proposition. [And even more recently by Steve Jobs who indicated consumers wanted to be able to sift through the amateur dreck.]

Would that I could simply say that "digital" media only represented content created by people on computers, but even that distinction falls apart as all television becomes digital, all television cameras and microphones go to hard drives, and all print media is predominantly generated digitally before it hits a press.

With all of these inadequate qualifiers to describe media and indicate something that's becoming progressively meaningless, we seem to have accepted the word "medium" should indicate the tool and not the content. For decades, when someone spoke of "the media", they referred to mass media outlets that would broadcast across a nation, or, more specifically, a group of reporters who may show up to an event. It seemed that the one irreducible primary was the reporter, the writer, or the television anchor.

Isn't the writer a medium as much as the newspaper, or the anchor as much as the television? And so isn't the blogger, podcaster, vidcaster as solitary a medium as the anchor. In fact, the experience of a solitary blogger or podcaster sequestered behind a basement PC is probably a whole lot less "social" than a production team in a newsroom.

So while some may argue that the worldwide web is a medium for social change that allows individuals to communicate with people quicker and further away than ever before, it could be called a social medium. But the instrument of content is still the person who, while a medium, is no more or less social than Walter Cronkite.

And if the content creator might be a less social medium than ever, have we really become all about the tools and less about the idea? Isn't the irreducible primary still fingers on a keyboard, a voice and a microphone, or a finger choosing how to frame reality?

Don't even get me started on Social Networking.

Podcast 129 - The Everybody Happy New Canadian National Anthem

After a two-day distraction to keep media outlets and the public sufficiently distracted from the Throne Speech and the Budget, the Tories plans to change the national anthem to make it gender-neutral have apparently evaporated. How transparent can media manipulation be. Any news outlet that printed the anthem change as anything but a distraction should be ashamed.

I, however, have not given up on the dream and have constructed a new national anthem to keep everyone happy. To hear my process and the result, you'll have to listen.

lovehate: Daytime Schadenfreude

Sitting at home on Ontario's Family Day, I gained a new appreciation of the levels of Schadenfreude that have pervaded daytime television. And it's not that I didn't have hours of Olympic coverage of people sitting behind desks to watch, but you start to notice patterns in the On Screen Guide if you stare at it like a Sterogram looking for the sailboat.

The Home Fix Shows - Let's everyone celebrate the fact that people have been ripped off by contractors and have colonies of mold growing in their walls. We can all breathe a sigh of relief that we're not smart enough to find the mold in our houses.

The White Trash Extravaganza - For the Jerry Springer, Steve Wilkos crowd, it doesn't matter what the topic is, these shows make Jeff Foxworthy look like Alec Guinness.

The Youth Empowerment Hour - Tyra splays out a bunch vulnerable young folk who have no idea what they're doing, thus making us feel better by their self-esteem crashes.

The Healing Hour - Oprah and Dr. Phil and their crack psych teams lay out a buffet of all the world's problems that everyone faces on a daily basis to such an exponential level of drama that everyone viewer must feel completely validated in their regular work-a-day problems and empowered enough to go out and by Oprah's Book Club titles about other people who are messed up.

Soap Operas - 'nuff said.

Cable Reality Shows which are often syndicated in marathons all day (let's run the list)

Intervention's extremist cases that make the average viewer think "at least I'm not as bad as that guy". 

B, C, and D-List Celebrities like Hulk Hogan, Gene Simmons, Kathy Griffin and Ozzy Osbourne get to show us how f'ed up their lives are - gee celebrities are people too... and pretty messed up at that.

And without beating a dead horse, how about Jon and Kate Plus 8, Dog The Bounty Hunter, For The Love of Ray J, Real Housewives of Schadenfreude USA, Dr. Drew... whew! I haven't even scratched the surface. But after a Family Day of flipping past many of these Downerfests, I wish I could say I feel better about myself, but then I realize that my life was reduced to watching these losers... which makes me?

thinglets: Alternative Superbowl Names So As Not To Get Sued By The NFL

Since the NFL threatens to sue anyone who uses the name "Superbowl" outside of reporting on it as news, I've decided to give some alternate monikers for people looking to spice up their local events or eatery promotions:

The Big Game

The Recroom Drunkfest

The Prop Bet Gambler's Paradise

The Poolie's Delight

The Game That's Rarely Good

The Media Blitz

The Super Bowel

The Hope-I-Die-Before-The-Who-Plays-The... forget it.

The Vegetative State Extravaganza

The Six Hour Build Up To A Coin Flip

The Excuse to Party

The Not-Good-Enough-Of-A-Reason-To-Bump-The-Simpsons Bowl

The Overpaid Immature Mutant Game

The Stupidbowl

The Not-Yet-Ready-For-Prime-Time Bowl

The I-Waited-Two-Weeks-For-This? Bowl

The CarQuest International House of Pancakes Geico Bowl

The Beer Commercial Bowl

The Oh-Look-There's-Counter-Programming-Figure-Skating-On Bowl

The Smoka Bowl

The I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Better Bowl

The Hey-Look-At-That-Commercial-While-I-Steal-The-Last-Piece-Of-Pizza Bowl

The Are-Those-Really-Bits-and-Bites-I-Haven't-Seen-Those-For-Years Bowl

The Bathroom-Is-Off-Limits-For-10-Minutes Bowl

The I'll-Cheer-For-The-Opposite-Team-Of-Everyone-Else-In-The-Room-To-Be-Different-And-Controversial Bowl

The Why-Do-I-Have-To-Watch-Promos-For-Canadian-TV-Shows-And-Miss-The-Commercial-Memes-That-Will-Be-The-Talk-Of-The-Internet-For-The-Next-24-Hours-Thanks-To-The-CRTC Bowl

thinglets: You Were Time Magazine's Grand Cop Out Of The Decade

Now that Time magazine has named a banker the Person of the Year 2009, I thought back to one of the decade's biggest cop outs. In 2006 Time named the Person of the Year YOU. What kind of sophomoric bullshit is that? I'm pretty sure the fall of print journalism that we've seen over the past few years was pushed along by this nugget of idiocy.

Before illustrating how truly pathetic YOU was, let's remember that in the past Time had come up with other gems like:

1960: US Scientists
1969: The Middle Americans
1975: American Women
1982: The Computer (Machine of the Year)
1988: Planet Earth (Planet of the Year) ...really? Not HD114762b?

A legacy of cop outs going back 50 years. But on to the real meat and potatoes of my argument. I don't know how many of you have heard of the band Uriah Heep. They were a hard rock/prog outfit from England who had their glory days in the 1970s. (Named after a Dickens' character for all you trivia buffs.) Anyway, in 1971 the record company released one of the cheesiest album covers of all time, entitled Look At Yourself, which featured a reflective cover so that fans could... well, you get the picture... in fact, you were the picture.

My friends and I laughed as teens when we picked up this cover in delete bins. Fair ball, however, the prog rock lover inside me actually kinda dug the music. The cover remains, to this day, one of the cheesiest concepts of all-time MOSTLY because someone thought it was immensely clever. And so goes Time 2006.

Can you imagine the cadre of geniuses that sat around a table and agonized over this? It's almost as though they had a story in the can about bloggers and the web and decided that it would be too much work to come up with a real person. (I suppose, in retrospect, I never bought the magazine, so I wasn't part of YOU.)

I appreciate that some of you probably thought this was immensely clever on Time's behalf when it happened a scant three years back. I would like to be moderate in my tone while placating your assertion and accepting your belief, but I can't. You're wrong. Time was wrong. And not since the goofball editors chose Earth as Planet of the Year in 1988 was there a bigger "stupid slap" in the face by this paragon of publications.

I know you think I may be making a big thing out of this, but when Time magazine and cheesy album covers are drawn parallel in my brain, it cannot be good news for print media. And in so much as I may be cheesy from time to time on lovehatethings, I always serve it up with a plate of saltines.