As terms like social media and consumer generated media were coming into use there used to erupt disagreements and debate over what the proper terminologies should be. The one I noticed most often was over "content" vs "media" in the case of "consumer generated content" (or "consumer generated media"). The term that I always had a problem with in these instances was "consumer". If nothing was being bought, sold or monetized (as is still often the case) who the hell were they calling consumer?
The term that always seemed to me to be totally appropriate was "media". Not as a reference to "mass media" but as a reference to events and moments being captured on some sort of media that made them sharable. This is the most fundamental and easily overlooked feature of the social media and video culture age. It is the oxygen of the milieu. It is this very aspect of our current culture that I am beginning to see and expect to see more and more counertrends respond to.
I use the word "countertrend" as opposed to "reaction" because I don't want to imply in any way the notion of a value judgment. The process really doesn't spring from a conscious appraisal, although proponents and champions of countertreads often adopt that type of stance as a way to validate their positions and consolidate identity.
Countertrends arise from a shifting of value in a general sense as a result of the widespread effect of the most pronounced and salient features of widespread trends. In this case, the process of recording and sharing just about everything and anything by everbody.
In an age where everything is captured what is more precious than an event that goes by without being recorded on video? In a time where everything is shared and promoted like a cheap liquidation sale what could be more cherished than a secret one or two people take to the grave? The one-off, the ephemeral, the unrecorded and undocumented will be sought after and valued for its increasing rareness and stark contrast to the norm.
Signs of this have already begun to appear in the form of speakeasies, underground dining clubs, and private events held with little notice beforehand of location to their attendants. I expect it to manifest in many other ways as well.
As I thought about the topic of this blogpost I began compiling a list of some of the new bars, restaurants and events that fit into this growing category but like Mickey Rourke says in Angel Heart... I think secret loves should stay secret.
My multi-post series on Participatory Media/User Generated from 2006.
(A bit dated but still relevant, particularly my idea that the relative value of content is dropping)
On Participatory Media and User Generated Content. A multi-post series.
Part 1. Talking to Ourselves
Part 2. What are We Talking About?
Part 3. It's Gotten Personal.
Part 4. The Relative Value of Content (is Dropping)
Part 5. Distortions in Truth & Reality and a Crisis of Credibility
Part 6. Amateur/Professional
Part 7. Who Needs Television?