The Democratization of Media

A lot of people (read: various mentors, professors, bosses and older colleagues I’ve had) rejoice in what web 2.0 means for creatives. 

“You can make a movie on your phone and upload it to YouTube and have it seen by millions of people!”

 

“You can record your bands entire album from your living room and put it out immediately!”

 

“Your words are on blogs and every genius thought you have is on Twitter!”

 

etc, etc.

 

While I agree it should be considered an advancement in our cultural evolution that we are no longer bound by the standards of (let’s face it mostly white) men in suits to determine what art is and what popular culture will be. It is a good thing that we can have access to great pieces of art and music and film and writing without it being sanitized and monetized. 

But it is a bad thing, in my opinion as a creative, that some of these boundaries have been removed. Yes, I can make a movie and put it on YouTube, but so what? So can everyone else.  Having your work, that you put your blood sweat and tears into, seen by millions is no longer validating. And isn’t validation what we’re after?

 

Yes, we want to express ourselves and create our art in our way without the judgmental eye of people who don’t understand us and only focus on the bottom line but don’t we also want to be singled out and praised for our achievements and accomplishments? Isn’t that what my generation-millennials-is after? 

 

Think of it this way- I have many friends who perform music in bands and want to be successful at it. A generation or two ago that meant signing a record deal. What does it mean today? Do record companies even matter anymore? Do iTunes downloads matter? When was the last time, dear reader, that you paid for music?  So they release it for free. Which is great, because all my friends are creative geniuses and beautiful artists sent to live on Earth by the gods of creativity. But what about all those people who aren’t?

The democratization of media makes it easier for good, interesting and avant garde artists to make their mark on the world but it also does the same for people who are complete pieces of shit and it lacks a simple system of validation that once existed.

A previous system separated the wheat from the chaff but now it’s all mixed together. Is it better?

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