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Control vs. Empowerment

A friend recently posted a fascinating article on his facebook page - "Media Morphosis: How the internet will devour, transform, or destroy your favorite medium." He made the point that old guard media companies are dying by the wayside and he questioned: "What will take their place?"

My abbreviated response went something like this:

Time will tell, and considering the exponentially rapid pace at which our media now develops, we won't have to wait long to find out. In my opinion, the signs of change point toward more democratic, accessible, user-generated media. I loved this article and I agree with most of it. What bugged me was the frequent assertion that commercially viable media is the only media worthy of attention and capable of evolution.

"...the rhetoric is mostly of the nonproductive "But I like it!" and "It's good for society!" variety, with not enough thought given to whether these media are commercially viable." Thumbs down. I don't think those arguments of value are nonproductive. Not in the least. I'm not going to launch a tirade against capitalism, but I will say that, commercially viable or not, I vote that democratic, accessible, user-generated media will win out.


My unabridged version includes this rambling thought:

I posted previously about the global shift we're in the midst of, a shift to a more accessible, egalitarian society. Along those lines, in specifically discussing the potential demise of big-budget studio movies, the article states: "The specific, rarefied animal that is the gigantic film spectacle demands a technological reality that has ceased to exist -- just enough technology to distribute the films everywhere, but not so much technology that the audience gets to overrule your distribution decisions."

In other words, it used to be the case that a big studio controlled how and where and when and what movies you watch. Sound familiar? It used to be the case that the news was on at 5:00pm, the prime-time line up started just after dinner, and if you wanted to see that week's episode of Sitcom X, you were sitting in front of the tv at that time. Now? This could not be further from the truth.

This micro example of how we access television programs can be extrapolated into a macro discussion of power shifting in every way possible. People are taking ownership of their world, their communities, their tv viewing... Think I'm crazy or think I'm spot on, but I see our shifting media consumption as a much larger paradigm shift in our collective conscience. A shift to understanding our ecological impact. A shift to taking back control from monopolistic companies. A shift to empowering people who have been systemically disenfranchised from media in the past. Power is no longer held by the privileged few. The media venues that figure that out - the politicians who figure that out, the companies that figure that out, etc. - will be the those that we're still talking about 10 years from now.


The Power of Pfieffer

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