Monty Solomon wrote:
> By Scott Kirsner, Globe Columnist
> Roger Ebert may be endangered, Entertainment Weekly on its way to
> extinction. Have you noticed how many no-name critics are suddenly
> serving up pithy opinions about movies, books, music, and video games
> on the Net?
> "The cultural influencers are changing," says Brian Kalinowski,
> chief operating officer of Lycos, the Waltham Internet portal.
> "Expert opinion in the media used to drive culture. Now, it's peer
I don't hold much credence to it. It has about as much influence as
traditional "word of mouth" has (although word of mount could be
For years the on-line gurus have been telling us how the old BBBs would
revolutionize human interaction and eliminate the middlemen. After
BBSs it was the different pieces of the Internet itself. Political
advocates predicted glory from bypassing the gatekeepers, so did a lot
of other advocates. They said the same thing about community access
The 'net has been an evolutionary influence, but by no means
revolutionary. Certainly there's a lot of opinions published out
there (like the one you're reading right now). But in the grand
scheme of things, a heck of a lot more people will be reading
traditional media (newspaper or TV).
We must remember that those who participate in online endeavors are
not necessarily representative of the public at large, and therein
lies the big fallacy of the "power of the internet".
The reality is that true everyday people are busy and don't have time
to scurry through every individual's post on whatever forum it is.
Internet advocates, including computer geeks, don't understand that
the rest of the world does not follow technology or the 'net as they
This is not to say the 'net has no influence, it does have some. It
just isn't this big revolution.
Sure, some people are meeting romantic partners through Internet
dating, just as some people met partners through the "computer dating"
of the 1960s and 1970s. But plenty of people meet through traditional
means as well; they certainly haven't gone away.
While there is lots and lots of political discourse on the 'net,
plenty of people still stick with traditional TV, radio, or mass media
sites. Frankly, many people don't follow politics much at all.
The Internet advocates greatly dislike the traditional "gatekeepers"
of communication, ie news editors, entertainment distributors. But
like them or not, they are necessary to filter out the tremendous
volume of stuff that comes through. People simply do not have the
time or interest to watch every possible self made movie, every
possible garage band, or every piece of "news".
Further, the social advocates quickly grabbed on this stuff early on,
and have turned it into very partisan soapboxes, which has tuned out
others who aren't as passionate. For example, there's a railroad
newsgroup that doesn't spend too much time talking about railroad
stuff. Rather, it is mostly flame wars between advocates of passenger
trains and those who hate trains altogether. The haters seem to be
very well organized and respond to almost every post. (see
misc.transport.rail.americas and go through some of the threads).
Another group, alt.prisons, is all social advocacy, nothing about
These groups are proof ot the need of a moderator to sift things out.
Pat has said, as have other monitors, of the incredible high volume of
junk submitted for publication that is plain garbage and takes much
time to sift out.
The world of journalism and entertainment gatekeepers isn't perfect.
But the alternative is pure chaos. Been there done that, don't like
[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: It is not just the 'high volume of junk
submitted for publication' although that is quite a bit of it. It is
also the high volume of pure spam; stuff you would not consider for
publication under any circumstances. I wish it was like in the old
days, where there was a high degree of _usable_ material as long as it
was cleaned up a little, had to be made grammatically correct, etc.