I recognise that pattern

Various new media shenanigans get the world talking. Fortunately, you won't find any of that on here, it's all text all the way.

A while ago there was the painfully obviously faked "thatgirlemily" affair, kicked off by billboards supposedly paid for by a betrayed wife. The flaws there were quite painful, such as the same poster appearing in both New York and LA at the same time. Other signs were more subtle but still obvious: clearly staged photos and youtube postings, belatedly added and backdated blog postings. Eventually, it became clear that this was all a rather awkward attempt at viral infection on the part of some television channel, I forget which one exactly.

Now, this week's (or possibly last week's, I'm a little behind on the buzz) phenom is the dubiously named "Lonelygirl15", which has attracted the obsessive interest of the New York Times' adolescent bloggers and TV correspondent (now there's a job which I'm fairly sure did not exist thirty years ago). The debate seems to be raging about is it possible for a teenager to put together a semi-literate and tolerably produced video diary, or is the whole thing the work of the most evil man *ever* (check out the VH1 special), Aleieieieiesteieieier Crowley, who went back in time to register a fan domain one month before the userid was created (do keep up at the back, I'll be asking questions later).

All of this puts me in mind of the somewhat underrated, but increasingly prescient "Pattern Recognition", by top-"cyberpunk"-coining typewriter basher, William H. Gibson. Written in 2003, I read it a year or two ago, and found it a little far fetched. Short segments of video are dribbled onto the public internet, and a huge group of obsessives forms around it, picking each new clip apart in the hope of clues about the creator, the contents, the storyline and the plot. For each byte of video, hundreds of megabytes of theories and countertheories are formed from the tiniest details. It never quite rang true for me at the time, dspite being an enthralling read, but as time goes on it becomes more and more accurate. If you want to have a hope in hell of understanding the new world media, the richly dense world of video posts, replies, thousands of comments, all held together by a fragile mass of friend lists, favourites, RSS and myspace pages, then you could do worse than grabbing a copy and seeing for yourself.

1 comment:

milowent said...

interesting connection to the Gibson book.