I feel like a critical asshole today, but at least I have a place like this where I can put my thoughts into words. I mentioned on Wednesday that I was expecting to be featured in an article about geeks in the April 2nd edition of the Louisville Courier-Journal, and today, my expectations became reality – sort of.
I don’t like the article (or why I can’t stand old media)
First, here’s the article, entitled “Chic to be geek.” (edit: link removed)
Alright, based on the results of my interview, I was really thinking that I had convinced the reporter to look at the reasons why being geeky seems to be more culturally acceptable in 2006 than it was, say, ten years ago. During the interview, I spoke a lot about how blogs are not only changing the landscape of interpersonal communication, but also how they are raising the profile of people who would likely go unnoticed in the old media celebrity/journalism/attention model.
One look around this site or any of the others that I’ve been associated with ought to clue you in to the fact that I’m a huge proponent of the growth and power of new media. I love everything about new media – it’s more genuine, more fair, more open, and more real than old media. Looking back, I guess I had really hoped that my passion for the subject would ultimately lead the article in the direction of blog talk, but alas, the word “blog” was mentioned a grand total of zero times in the article (outside of references to bloglouisville.com and blogherald.com).
I want to puke.
It’s “chic to be geek” in 2006 because it’s now possible to carve out an audience based solely on what you say and how you say it. You don’t have to be judged on how you look, and you don’t get noticed simply because some jerkoff producer thought you might be the next “it” thing for teens. If you produce quality writings time and time again on your site, you’re bound to get noticed, and inevitably, you’ll draw scores of like-minded or interested readers to your home on the web. You can be the “it” thing for anyone who can find your site, and I think that’s huge.
It’s not “chic to be geek” simply because Bill Gates has a lot of money. He had a lot of money in 1990, but nobody said that geekiness was a cultural phenomenon back then.
It’s not “chic to be geek” because I was a valedorktorian but would probably never be picked out of a lineup and identified as the “smart kid.” (Don’t worry, I’m rolling my eyes, too)
Although I’ll be attending the Louisville Geek Dinner, you’d have a hard time convincing me that it’s “chic to be geek” because a bunch of us tech freaks will be getting together for our annual trip out of our houses.
Okay, okay, you get the idea. What I’m saying is this: read the article and tell me, what is said in the article that even remotely backs up the headline’s claim that it’s “chic to be geek?”
Is there anything in there that makes you go, “Ohhh, so that’s why Beauty and the Geek has been such a hit”?
It’s blogs, people. It’s new media. The old media is the Berlin Wall, and all the geeks out there are the East Germans who were simply shut off from the rest of the world before the advent of this amazing new vehicle of communication.
Old media just doesn’t get it, or else they just want to deny it. The significance of blogs and the independent voices of the people cannot be understated, and yet the old media can’t even bother to mention blogs in an article about the birth of geek pop culture.
And I tried to beat them over the head with the message.
I think, perhaps, that I had this grandiose vision of being the local ambassador for the explosion of blog popularity. I thought my words were powerful, almost to the tune of serving as a mathematical theorem for why geekiness can become mainstream.
I guess I was wrong. Maybe I’ve temporarily failed the blogosphere.
Maybe old media is scared of me. Maybe they’re scared of us.
Honestly, I think they just don’t get it, and I think we’re still not getting the respect we deserve. It’s only a matter of time until people realize that the real talent lies out here on the frontier and not in the cubicles of a fancy classified ad warehouse.
Update: I feel like Barry Bonds today, too. I was quoted out of context in the article, but then again, that’s probably such a frequent deal that it’s not even worth worrying about. Oh well, just add that to the list of “why old media sucks.”