They Have the Internet on Computers, Now?

I wish the media could report on the web without me being able to sense all the eye rolling and smirks. It’s not to say that there hasn’t been some begrudging acceptance of the online world, but I often get the feeling it is being couched in “ahh, aren’t you cute!” head-patting condescension whenever there are stories about blogging, Wikipedia, MySpace and the like.

The latest came in the National Post this week, in an article titled “Behold the new narcissism” which went after YouTube and how it had “cornered the unnecessary media coverage of online ephemera.” Author J. Kelly Nestruck, while conceding the video site was a huge phenomenon, described it as the “online repository of videos of pandas sneezing, experiments documenting the effects of Mentos on Diet Coca-Cola” and sniffed at the number of mentions journalists had made of the site this year. His own chain, CanWest, racked up well over 800+ and I’m just going to assume he saw the irony of adding to that number. It’s just not worth the coverage, he concludes.

Now while I can’t defend the earth-shattering nature of the content, you can’t negate the popularity of the site – which has somewhere in the nature of 20 million site visits a month, with tens of thousands of clips uploaded daily. Why wouldn’t this deserve coverage? The most appalling dreck to come out of Hollywood garners pages of coverage everyday, no matter what the quality. The same can be said for music, TV shows and most of all, celebrities. Some may argue that none of it deserves ink, but not me. That’s the deal with pop culture – a lot of it may be trite and shallow, but if millions of people are consuming it, you’d best pay attention.


  1. Well, I think that the mainstream media is forgetting Sturgeon's Law, "Ninety percent of everything is crud." Certainly if one surfs YouTube he or she will find that 90% of the videos are crap. But then the same will hold true of 90% of the stories in newspapers, 90% of all TV shows, 90% of all movies, and so on. The problem is that the mainstream media insists on focusing on that 90% of the web that isn't worthwhile. And I can't help but think that they are doing it on purpose. Maybe they fear being replaced or made redundant?

  2. Ha! That's a great law and so true. I hate to say there is a divide beween old and new media, but sometimes it seems hard to avoid.

    Maybe medieval scribes reacted the same way when Johannes Gutenberg introduced the printing press, talking about how most of what got printed was crud.

  3. Well, the word wasn't crud... more like heresy, blasphemy and other wonderful descriptors.

  4. I love that image from the Simpsons...good post as well =)