Friday, November 24, 2006
15 Minutes of Fame Now Possible With Streaming Internet Video Technology
Back in 1968, pop icon Andy Warhol said that "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." While this may be an exaggeration of what democracy would mandate for the lives of everyday people, it was also a statement about what communications technology could do for people all over the world. When the statement was first made, telecommunications technology was primitive. Most TV sets still had vacuum tubes instead of transistors and computers took up entire rooms and had input/output devices that utilized punch cards. Not only was telecommunication technology more primitive in terms of data processing, but it was also more limited in terms of volume. Even in the largest cities, there were only a hand full of television stations, only broadcasting over the air. Communications satellites had only recently ceased to be a dream of Arthur C. Clarke, and satellite Television was like something out of The Jetsons.
Now with hundreds of television channels available through satellite television providers, televisions that we can carry in our pockets and wrist mounted Global Positioning Units with computational powers that dwarf those room sized computers, we live in a much different world. Our world is interconnected like never before.
The Internet is a huge part of this interconnection, and the Internet with it's streaming video technology has become a venue that some people are using to seek out, and find, their own fifteen minutes of fame. Now Thanks to YouTube, Google Video, and other video-sharing sites; anybody with a video camera, some widely available software, and a broad band Internet connection has the potential to become a celebrity. Of course it helps if these people have something worth doing, worth saying, or that can get enough attention.
Most often these overnight celebrities go for shock value, and it raises the question of whether or not anyone really has to have any talent to be a celebrity. For example reality TV programs make celebrities out of people who over dramatize every little situation- often people who debase themselves just to get attention. And then there are other television shows in which adults act like spoiled teenagers, constantly destroying things, playing cruel jokes on people, and placing themselves at grave risk of physical injury. All just for the sake of celebrity.
Often this celebrity is short lived. These are fairly normal people, without exceptional talents and, despite their best efforts, they often fade into the background with other normal people.
Regardless of whether or not this celebrity is justified or lasting; it comes about largely because of the Internet and other related technologies. It's a great example of how new television technologies like streaming Internet video can change the way we view ourselves and each other.
Thanks to this technology, people have a huge venue for self expression and maybe the possibility of distinguishing themselves from people with other aspirations. At the very least, people can share amusing activities with their close friends.
The good thing about the television technology that existed back in Andy Warhol's 1968 was that it brought forth celebrities with more real talent. Plus, at that point there were a lot more truly creative things that had never been done before.