Lynn Price, a small press publisher, has recently posted in her blog some truths that I think are lost in all the hype about the internet as a new medium for disseminating entertainment. (See here and here.)
The common wisdom is that the ease of entry into the internet as a broadcasting (or distribution) method has opened the doors to anyone and everyone for entry. This is certainly true. Anyone can start a podcast with only a mic and a Mac. It costs peanuts to make a video and post it up on YouTube. And now with tablets and e-readers, every Tom, Dick, and Harry has discovered their inner author and has long or short form stories available at Amazon or Smashword.
What’s lost in all the gloating about the little guy being able to finally bypass the traditional gatekeepers and at long last opening the floodgates of creativity is any reflection about whether the world is better for it. This would be true only if you believe that the availability of a vast slush-pile of poorly executed crap which previously only editors and media executives could access is a cultural improvement.
As for me, all this “unleashed creativity” on the web has given me a new found respect for the ability of the established media institutions to curate and prune the piles of raw sewage they must have to wade through in order to present even their paltriest works. At least, they get paid to do it; I am extremely reluctant to spend my precious free time trolling through a slush-pile trying to find something worth partaking.