Sometimes, really good ideas can come from chat. I was discussing Molly’s article about a possible new dotBoom (or something like it) with the esteemed author a few days ago and it became too interesting to keep it to ourselves. More precisely, it’s a comparison I draw about momentum, crap and quality, especially as seen on the internet these days. It is not in line of the other comments, not even my own, as seen there, but a proper continuation of our chat.
The main attraction in our chat actually bordered the general ethics of the people creating this Internet thing, but then it struck me. A stagnation in innovation (as pointed out in several of the comments indeed) is a bad thing per se, but there is a platform that has been at this stage for quite some time now. Television. The popular stuff is very often not that brilliant, might be stolen or a concept bought from abroad. The good stuff? Oh, but you know where and when to find it, and you tell your friends. In general, however, the bigger commercial parties will continue focussing on the biggest possible audience, the lowest common denominator. I’ll quote here what I told Molly:
Television has been at the same peak, though, for years. Maybe the Internet can reach that and keep that going. That momentum that is propelled mainly by bullshit, low standards and quick money. […] The long tail will not be effective in that system, unless it’s an idea that can penetrate the grander market, and then you’re back to square one. Again, see Television.
In this bit, what is screaming to be read is the concept that the long tail effectively does not exist. Right now, it still does. A dozen blog posts will make a bigger dent than a New York Times front page item if it reaches the right people. On television, that is less the case, as far as I understand it. I’m putting this out there, onto the bigger Web, for all to read. I cannot tell you how far this comparison will stretch or if it actually does apply at all, but I hope it provides a thinking exercise. Think some more, write a little, rinse, repeat.