the future of mass culture

The decline of mass media doesn’t necessarily imply the decline of mass culture. Social networking services can create mass circulation without mass media. iLike, a music sharing application, acquired one million users on Facebook within a week of its introduction there. Observing that Paris Hilton was mentioned more often than Facebook, iPhone, and Google at a spring 2007 tech conference, a venture capitalist declared:

A bunch of blogs that I don’t read, like TMZ, are newly winning the traffic wars. What such sites generally have in common is that they don’t even have passing acquaintance with technology, geek-ish stuff, and early adopters. Instead, they are oriented toward the sort of inane pablum that fills supermarket glossies, 7pm TV shows, and such. They are, in other words, all about celebrities, gossip, and entertainment.

And that is, in a word, awesome. Why? Because it is unassailable evidence of the arrival of the web as mass, popular media.

Gossip and entertainment are primordial features of human societies. Celebrity across a human population of three hundred million persons is not. Whether new communications technologies will support celebrity or diffuse it remains an interesting question for analysis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Current month ye@r day *