Thursday, 13 December 2012

How The Media Is Making Us Stupid

The latest YouTube layout has been designed in such a way that your homepage on the site is now nearly devoid of videos by the people that you actually subscribe to having been replaced with videos that have been "reccomended for you because you watched ...". The institution has a very low opinion of the users of the YouTube, apparently assuming that we are all inept at finding good content by ourselves and instead need to be spoon-fed the same bland non-entertainment from more popular channels such as 'PewDiePie' and 'The Yogscast'. The layout is more of an inconvenience as it prevents poeple from easily viewing the content that they actually want to watch.

YouTuber's themselves are starting to employ more conventional marketing techniques making themselves appeal less to a niche audience in order to gain more fans. Most YouTuber's often fill their videos with annotations and links to their Facebook and Twitter pages, links to their blog, KickStarter account, second channel, friend's channels etc. People are perfectly acceptable of finding these outlets themselves but the YouTuber's feel the need to turn themselves into a recognisable institution with branding to ensure a large and consistent fanbase. The media landscape of YouTube becomes incredibly stale as more people conform to the idea that you have to fill your videos with these links and annotations and content begins to feel the same, for example, there are now countless "Let's Play" channels on YouTube because people noted the popularity of people such as 'TotalBiscuit' and 'The Yogscast' and imitated them to gain popularity.

The music industry has recently been genre stereotyping to the degree of Grunge in the 1990's or Glam Rock in the 1980's. Heavy Metal bands and their music videos are becoming increasingly conformist. The mise-en-scene for these music videos is always the same, the band is performing in some decrepit looking building, there is usually scenes of love story with shots of the band broken up with a very stereotypical unhappy love story of two people growing apart and being "reborn", the codes and conventions of these videos is that black is the prevailing colour, everything is in black from the clothes that the band wear to the room itself, the clothes of the band members is basically the same clothes that Motley Crue or Posion wore in the 80's but with a Goth/Scene Kid overtone with tight black jeans, vests and straight, long hair dyed jet black, often with the hair covering one eye.

There is also a laughable attempt at trying to sexualise the band members as they are often shot with specific camera angles, shooting them from the waist up and focusing on their makeup and skinny, exposed arms. The intention of these framing techniques is to bring in a larger female audience which is admirable but it is done in a very derogatory way where the institutions assume that women are interested in the bands appearance than their music.

This genre stereotyping effectively funnels people into different subgenres, people begin to identify with a recognisable look and will buy music from bands that look similar. People will blindly accept whatever music is given to them as long as they have a particular appearance, genre stereotyping prevents people from discovering music on their own and instructs people to listen to music based on fashion and looks rather than originality, melody, rhythm, musical abilities etc.

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