Reading through Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail, I have viewed his thesis as a faint beacon of hope in the pathetic capitalist hurricane of foolishness (my words, not Andersons). That was until I walked into Professor Rhodes’ class on Tuesday and was smacked with Mark Mulligan’s The Death of the Long Tail. It was interesting to compare Mulligan’s thoughts about “digital catalogue pollution” to Anderson’s chapter eight presentation of the “powerlaw” components of variety, inequality, and network effects. Though Mulligan doesn’t want the little guys to fade into the great digital musical abyss, he’s just reporting what the stats say, and unfortunately data is showing that the “hits” are still “hits” and the “stars” are still “stars”. BOO!!!! 😦 Economically, Anderson keeps wanting to say that the future holds hope for the lesser known artists to make enough to keep their lights on and water running, but really that isn’t so. In fact, Anderson’s hope that the age of the 80/20 rule will end is actually quite the opposite when you compare Mulligans 96/4 data. 😦 Though CD Baby’s Tracy Maddux reports that his company is doing just fine, in comparison to how the head artists are adapting, it’s a completely different ball game and comparisons cannot be accurately made.
I’ve read Convergence Culture before and I loved it. Jenkins is a smart guy and the fact that he is a Survivor fan makes me love him all the more. As I re-read Jenkins this semester, I am trying to link together some of the ideas I’ve seen in our other readings. One huge thing that sticks out to me in Jenkins’ fourth chapter is the Star Wars fan film examples being a direct representation of Langdon Winner reference that Slack uses in Culture + Technology. Technological determinism is seen here in full bloom because, without the internet and accessibility that technology has brought, a society built of “grassroots creativity” wouldn’t be this huge! This technology has determined the future of so many people! Heck, if it weren’t for technology, I wouldn’t be in this Converged Communications program!!!!
A few weeks ago in Rhodes’ class we discussed the question, “When was the last time you had a truly original thought?” and this is something I’ve turned over and over in my head since! The off-shoots of popular stories that are easy to find online are sometimes fantastic pieces of art, but because the basis of the stories are not original, they cannot be put In the same category. Aside from copyright infringement stuff that Jenkins really doesn’t consider, I love how the internet facilitates consumer generated content because it’s just expansion on things I love! Everyone was sad when Harry Potter ended but then when Pottermore and fanfic started to be available, they were consoled and able to continue living in the story that they are so involved in! (I mean, honestly, if there was You’ve Got Mail fanfiction I would never get anything done! Hahaha!)