The father of virtual reality technology, Jaron Lanier, makes the claim that digital collectivism spawns little originality and quality of content.
“If you want to foster creativity and excellence, you have to introduce some boundaries.”
In our Web 2.0 digital age, we find ourselves with very little boundaries. Who are we? You can call us users, producers, and amateurs. Lanier is quick to judge what you and I might believe to be creative and excellent. We live in a time when the shot heard around the world is now the YouTube video seen around the world. We still believe that a New York Times article is a reliable and esteemed source of news. Excellent? Yes, very much. Creative? Not so much. We also believe that video clips of Jay Leno, Stephen Colbert, and a random YouTube contributor can inform us of the same news story in less than two minutes with a little entertainment. Excellent? Maybe or maybe not. Creative? Definitely.
The lack of boundaries has enabled web users to find and/or make a digital comfort zone where information of any kind can be transpired. This supports Bruns’ idea of “produsage” and the recurrent blurring of the producer and consumer boundary. I am more comfortable with the idea that if you want to foster creativity and excellence, you have to introduce some choice. As far as I am concerned, being informed of a news story through a rant on YouTube does not take away from the excellence of a New York Times article, and nor does the article demote any creativity on behalf of the YouTube user. Creativity and excellence are like apples and oranges.
- You can’t compare them to each other.
- There are many kinds of each one.
- Not everyone seeks both at the same time.
- The levels of intake of each depend on the individual.
- They’re both good for you.
As a business undergrad with concentrations in marketing and strategy, it is imperative to understand the delicate relationship between the consumer and choice. Free will and choice are some of the greatest, most priceless gifts to humankind. However, in a paradoxical sense, if you give someone a plethora of television channels, lovers, job offers, and movie premieres, etc., the guarantee of complete satisfaction and confidence in a final decision is hardly ever likely. Caterina Fake, the co-founder of Flickr, states it very simply.
“Everyone agrees that 99% of everything is crap.”
When Twitter hosted the battle for the most followers between Ashton Kutcher and CNN, we saw this neck-to-neck showdown between the amateur and the professional. The end of the story is that it’s harmless to have a little of both. It is the personal responsibility of consumers to determine what content is important to him or her, regardless of whether an amateur or a professional generated it.