Is The Internet Enabling Bad Content… Or Killing Bad Content?
from the can't-hide-behind-marketing-any-more dept
One of the common refrains we hear from the modern Luddite is that one of the awful things about today’s internet culture is that it’s flooded with too much “crap.” One of our regular critics in the comments insists that key point and our failure to realize what this means for the world is why he spends so much time attacking everything I post. He’s worried about what all that crappy content means for the world. Of course, that always makes me wonder why he bothers spending time paying attention to crappy content. After all, one of the nice things about the internet is that you only have to pay attention to what you like. It’s truly an elitist position to complain about the crap that’s out there. The thing is, it’s really not a problem.
First, what may be crap to you may be wonderful to someone else. The idea that there’s some objective measure of what’s great and what’s crap when it comes to content for everyone is just silly. As someone who likes a few niche areas of music, the ability for me to find out about more artists from around the globe has been amazing. And, yes, even if I discover some of them aren’t very good, it’s easy to move on and find the next band that’s really fantastic.
But the bigger issue is that even if there’s a ton of crappy content out there, this is really a filter problem. And, some are realizing that the reality is that the internet actually helps stop crappy content (found via obhi and the infdist panel). The point raised in the link is that, historically, professional content creators were able to deliver bad content all the time — and just hide it behind a massive marketing campaign. People would go see awful movies because they didn’t realize how awful they were.
But today, that’s no longer true. Word of mouth travels fast, and is attached to all sorts of content. Haven’t heard of the movies playing at the theater? Just look them up quickly online and you’ll get an immediate sense of whether or not people liked it. The fact is that the internet acts as a filter to help you avoid crappy content. It still gets created, but it’s even less likely to get in the way than it did before. Back before the internet, when I used to go searching for new obscure bands in a particular genre, half the time I’d be making a total guess about the quality of an album (sometimes based on the album artwork). But, today, I no longer have to do that. I can see what others think, I can sample the music via their own websites, etc.
There may be more “crap” online, because now everyone can get their own content out there, but it’s easier than ever to avoid that crap and easier than ever to find the good stuff — and that’s true both at the amateur and the professional level. The internet doesn’t cause anyone to be overloaded by crap… unless you’re bad at using the internet.