my slow awakening…

April 1, 2006

I first heard of the term “Blog” about 4 years ago. A techno-savvy ex-colleague of mine was explaining the blogging trend on the internet. I understood it as just a sort of online diary then. I thought it was another avenue for the layperson desperately seeking attention to get his/her 15 minutes of fame, bitch about the world, etc. In a way, I was right, and wrong.

Dense monkey I was (still is, I suspect)…not knowing the journalistic, political, social and cultural impact that it possess. I have to admit, I was more interested in reading about the juicy, intimate (and dense) details of those “Paris Hiltons of Bloggers” out there. Then again, 3 years ago, I was much less engaged with the net. 3 years ago, I was much less trustful of the net. 3 years ago, I was not studying at QUT. I was working an average 12 – 15 hours a day (no joke) in a high-class sweatshop disguised as a television network back in Singapore. Oh yeah! I was part of the “old media”, and I was skeptical of “new media”.

Now, I am a convert! I have seen the light! MSN, Google, email, Skype are part of my daily life! I have to thank this overseas study stint at QUT for “brainwashing” me. I go on the net everyday to communicate with friends, do research for projects, read about news, and entertain myself with comics and videos. Every semester here in QUT, I have at least one subject that has to do withnew media . Initially, I found these quite dry and boring, but as it progresses, I slowly began to understand and appreciate the transformative power of the internet, from both the academic influence and my personal engagements.

Blogging is an extension of this power. There are many types of blogs out there, from online diaries, photoblog, shock blog, to video blog (Vlog). The latest craze in Vlog town is rocketboom, a daily three minute mock news program that covers everything from tech trends to pop culture with frank irreverence and sly humor. As reported by Wikipedia, the Janurauy 9, 2006 issue of Newsweek gave the figure as "130,000 daily viewers." On February 2, Rocketboom was incorporated into an episode of the TV series CSI in a fictional scene of a murderer watching Congdon (Rocketboom anchor) comment on the crime. In the month following the CSI episode, the number of Rocketboom viewers jumped to 200,000. Not bad for a two-person team consisting of producer Andrew Baron and actress-anchor Amanda Congdon. Given it's lean production cost to audience ratio, it could potentially make television networks sit up to rethink their prodution model. "TV will be transformed," says Mitchell Kapor, the founder of Lotus Development Corp.

"I think the phrase “everyone is a media outlet” sums up new media. Personal websites, online communities, online gaming, forums, blogs, vlogs…I wonder what’ll be the next big thing…One thing for sure, there are alreday signs of new and old media converging. And this convergence movement is taking place at both the technological front (e.g. media centre, mobile phones, video gaming consoles like Xbox360, PS3) and the cultural front (e.g. machinima, Rocketboom on CSI). More on convergence next time, maybe…

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