links for 2008-11-07

The Election That Won’t Go Away

I’ve been blogging all through the American Primaries and then the Election but not because of the politics.  Since I’m not an American, my thoughts really aren’t of interest to anyone and I’m not about to change anyone’s perspectives.  I just have my own feelings about the impact of our big neighbour to the south.

What I did blog about was the impact that social media had on the election.

To me, this was earth shattering.  From blogs, to Twitter, to Flickr, to YouTube, to any of the big media sources, a candidate couldn’t hiccup without someone noticing and commenting about it.  That started the ball rolling with anyone connected and with a keyboard could agree, disagree, or go completely off-topic offering all kinds of ideas and insights about the event.

In no other newsworthy event, could I think of not only such high traditional media coverage but a new form truly came into its own – citizen journalism.  Everyone had an opportunity to express an opinion, and with cheap to free internet access, inexpensive digital cameras, cameras and microphones in cell phones, etc. so many people took advantage of this to let anyone who would care to read, read about it.

Above and beyond the amateurs, the main stream media flexed their muscles and raised the concept of viral video to a new level.  Nobody did it better and with such impact as the crew from Saturday Night Live. 

An insightful summary appears in Business Week this week.

Saturday Night Live’s creative productions were seen by millions.  They brought back the excitement of the live show and they placed it all online so that we could continue to enjoy it.  Unlike the grainy low-level content of some sources, they placed high quality images and sound for everyone to enjoy.  They also exerted their copyright ownership and demanded that sharing sites tear down cheap copies.  Instead, they provided their own embed codes so that they could presumably monitor the number of views.  More than that, though, it was a lesson in ownership of digital content that so often seems to go amiss these days.  They own it; they pay richly for salaries and production values; why shouldn’t they be able to protect their investment?

By doing so, I feel that they’ve raised the bar for anyone who would follow in their paths to make good content available but also keep the quality so that the original product doesn’t degrade.

I commented on more than one occasion that it takes a strong person to expose their lives so publically in a YouTube world.  This isn’t a one-time phenomenon.  It’s not going to go away and we all need to look at this with open eyes because so much that we think about traditional is going to change.

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