Scary New Media

You know something is seriously changing in a genre when a masked serial killer invites you to check out his “blog”. Such a gesture is obviously a solicitation of interactive engagement — a marketing scheme intended to solicit an investment of attention and to mollify a fan base, with the promise of giving a web-savvy audience member “something extra” for free online. —Michael A. ArnzenScary New Media (Dissections)

A little later in the article, Arnzen offers a good discussion of new media horror as an expression of anxiety over new media itself.

I don’t get cable TV, and it has been so long since I have followed any TV series closely enough to consider this sort of thing. I do remember reading something about a controversy in that the cast of a particular show had agreed to air a certain number of short web-only episodes, but the studio execs refused to pay them extra for their work, so the episodes stopped.

As I understand it, YouTube has recently limited its clip lengths to 10 minutes, which is slightly longer than the average content hole in between the commercial breaks, and about the same length as the amount of film that the old movie cameras could shoot in one stretch.

This is getting off topic, but I’ll push on anyway.

Just today, Steve Jobs announced that he was changing the name of Apple Computers to Apple Inc, and he unveiled a new iPhone and a TV appliance that is supposed to sync your video files across your various video appliances. Some observers are predicting that the iPod is pretty much dead, but the new iPhone also looks pretty expensive, to those who don’t have executive epxense accounts to finance their toy purchases. At any rate, you can bet that we’re going to see a lot of hype for hand-held video. Way back in the dark ages, families used to gather in the living room to watch the same shows. Once you had cable TV, more channels meant it was likely that different family members would watch different things.

Occasionally when our DVD player has been out, I have offered to watch a movie with my wife on my laptop computer, but she rejected the idea. To her, a computer is something you use when you are working. I don’t really watch many DVDs on my computer, but I do from time to time. And I’m fortunate enough that I have a job where I can tell myself that watching Blade Runner or playing an IF game is research, which it is.

I’m still more likely to want to build a Half-Life 2 level or program an IF game for relaxation if I can find a few unbroken hours to block out for such activities. (Blogging is typically what I do when I know I’m going to be interrupted, or when I’m too sick to concentrate, which has been the case for the past week.)