“Look at me I’m expressing myself!” “No you’re being a tool…”
Today in class we discussed where the internet is going. Whether it is becoming a tool of infinite freedom that will perfect our Capitalist system, or if it will become a tool used to control the masses. Now I’m not any sort of expert on the subject, as a matter of fact I don’t even think I fully comprehend it, but I feel that the internet is always going to walk the thin line between the two sides.
I feel that the internet is comprised primarily of original content, public content, that is constantly being capitalized on. The way I see it is that the internet allows for people to create great pieces of expression (and crumby ones as well obviously), and that is the one side, but at the same it also allows the media to take these original pieces and make money off of them. A perfect example of this is the new Trivial Pursuit that incorporates YouTube and it’s “stars”. All of the people on YouTube became famous by creating original videos, videos that people were interested in in one way or another. Some videos are funny, some raise important issues, some showcase a talent such as singing, but the point is that they were all created by average (and I use the term loosely) people, using little to no budget. Half the time these videos are created out of sheer luck, for example the father of Charlie featured in “Charlie bit my Finger” claims it was just luck that he happened to be filming when his children did their thing. “Charlie Bit My Finger” is a prime example of a film that cost literally no money to make, and is fully original, and is being capitalized on by a corporation. Hasbro uses Charlie and countless other videos in their new Trivial Pursuit game, to entice people to buy the game, and in turn make themselves some money. They are capitalizing on an original creation posted and viewed for free on the internet.
Advertisers understand the power of original videos and the influence a “viral video” can have. Corporations use the internet just as much as the average member of society does. Doritos had an advertising campaign recently where they asked YouTubers and internet producers to do their bidding for them. They offered $250,000 to the person who could make an advertisement about their new chip, and have it go “viral”. The winner is here. The video is an example of a corporation walking the line between originality and control. Doritos gave people the opportunity to express themselves in any mode they saw fit, but they also said that in order for the video to be considered in their contest it had to go viral. By enforcing that the video has to go viral Doritos limits competitors creativity and sets up certain boundaries. Competitors now have to keep their audience (the internet) in mind, and therefore have to try and conform to showing the people what they want to see. They are being controlled by the masses, because of the corporation. Basically because the corporation is only interested in the amount of views, creativity takes a back seat, and producers are forced to conform to certain boundaries. So in some sense we are free, but in others there is clearly a boundary in which we cannot cross, at least in terms of this contest. Hopefully this makes sense, I’m finding it difficult to explain today, I am running on a severe lack of caffeine.
That is where I see the internet going, sort of a cross between being a mode of freedom and expression, and a tool of surveillance and control. I like the Doritos idea of using people on the internet to advertise their product. Clearly someone was using their head when they thought that campaign idea up. I mean why spend hours on end, attempting to create something original, when you can sit back and let the internet and its civilians do it for you?
Because I have not sourced or cited any of this article I should probably do that now. So the trivial pursuit game I saw an advertisement for on CNN while I was at the gym, hopefully thats a valid source, I swear it happened. The Doritos thing is sourced above just click the home page and go to the contest details, you end up here. Charlie Bit My Finger is all over the internet so if you can’t find it I feel you have bigger problems than my sourcing. And finally because I like having pictures in my Blog and because I find pictures for some reason attracts more readers. Seriously there seems to be a correlation between the amount of pictures and videos used in my Blogs and the number of “views” I get.