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Several friends from the American side of the pond sent me copies of
a Clay Shirky video on how making things easier makes more people do something, but that
while the average quality falls, the total amount of good stuff rises. I’m paraphrasing
as I lost the original video clip, but you’ll probably get the gist of the argument. Basically a bigger bell curve has a broader base on both sides and a higher peak.
We think he is right. But the effect he discussed does not just apply to words. OK, we all get the history lesson that when writing was
invented about 0.1% of the population could read and write and the whole
writing thing was shrouded in mystery and ritual, up to an including chaining
monks to desks. Then along comes Guttenberg, the first info-terrorist and
suddenly almost anyone can have a book published. Well, perhaps 1% of the
population managed something like a pamphlet, and most of those were not so
good. I bet they harked back to the Sumerian clay tablet even then.
Anyway, now we have Blogware and suddenly we have up to 10% of
the population writing things and publishing them. Good news, except most are
drivel. (I suspect mine is). Actually given what PEW say about teenagers and writing, we can be certain most is drivel, and that is before you count the truely execrable quality of MySpace pages.
Then we can look at music: Mozart, Court music, pop music,
garage band. Same process. Each time you do any of the things below, you increase the amount of creative material in circulation:
1 – give people more disposable cash
2 – give people more leisure time
3 – give people more positive feedback from peers
4 – make it easier to do
5 – make it easier to do it better with practice
6 – reduce the number of people involved
7 – remove (or avoid) regulation by the state
But video is stuck in the 0.1% era, despite cool stuff like 12secondTV and we are going to have to do
something about that.
I work with Matt Kelland and Dave Lloyd (authors of
) and Johnnie Ingram (co author of Machinima for Dummies http://www.machinimafordummies.com/
It would be fair to say that we aim to democratise the production of video.
We had better get right on with that then…