Normalizing The Mob.

_web_cyberPrintingPressI was glancing around social media when I saw NPR’s, “Hard times Are Ahead for news sites and social media. Is this the end of Web 2.0?“:

…”The news industry didn’t really have a profit model other than trying to get eyeballs and earn digital advertising revenue,” said Courtney Radsch, who studies technology and media at UCLA. “But what we saw is that the tech platforms, specifically Google and Facebook, ended up controlling that digital advertising infrastructure.”…

I suppose now that NPR has caught up to reality on this, it’s time to beat it with an old printing press. It’s been a problem for at least one decade, perhaps two, and it impacts anyone trying to create content on the Internet. The more agile companies and individuals have been good at monetizing trends in what the mob wants, creating a digital Vox Populi which can be outright… outrageous.

A few days ago I saw a reel of a lesbian manscaping a sheep because it was popular. To be fair, I didn’t realize that this was necessary or had a technique involved, but in less than a minute I was taught a masterclass in shaving a male sheep’s nether regions… which, honestly, I could have lived without, but it was so outrageous I simply watched and said, “What an example of outrageous content”. I’m sure it has a niche market, but I am not the niche. It just popped up in my feed.

It goes further than that though.

The regular ‘media’ has become just as outrageous, with Tucker Carlson’s nether regions being shaved by Fox News, after being outed to having opinions different than those he expressed. I imagine he really didn’t have his nether regions shaved – I do not want to know – but he did get fired, which for a talking head is pretty much the same. That’s where these little economic bubbles come in, where Tucker Carlson likely made sure he made enough money for as long as he could selling people what they wanted even if it had nothing to do with truth. It’s marketing. And wherever he lands, I’m sure he’ll have a fluffy landing, perhaps made from the wool of the nether regions of a male sheep.

He’s going to be ok. The people he fleeced with their attention to his misdirection will range from upset to simply waiting for the next Great Faux Hope. That’s the way of media these days. You don’t have to tell anything even resembling the truth, you simply have to cash in fast enough to live the rest of your life sipping mai-tais. It helps if you have some truth in it so it’s defensible, but that is no longer necessary. Media has become fiction, which should be irritating fiction writers everywhere.

The news used to be pretty boring in the last century, but it was necessary to understand the world. Now, it’s impossible to understand the world because the people who distribute facts without embellishing are not as interesting to people, with the exception of comedians who have become this age’s philosophers. Thank you, George Carlin, wherever you are.

What’s happened with ‘web 2.0’ is what was bound to happen: the economy surrounding it is normalizing as the hype it used to have is being eaten voraciously by large language models trained on the hype-fest of Web 2.0, probably full of pithy marketing slogans whose psychology makes them powerful red dots, eating the most valuable resource that an individual has: time.

Now that resource is being used by ChatGPT, where they are given the illusion of creating content that amuses them. That hype will eventually fall away too since what the language models was trained on was content available on the web, which is full of so much psychological marketing that it’s similar to masturbation in giving us the results we want without involving another human.

The content of Web 2.0 was for the mob, marketing enough that a Cluetrain was created. But the products largely didn’t keep pace with the marketing, as usual. The new tech is just normalizing the old tech, which was normalizing what the mob wanted.

Same as it ever was. Do something different.


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