Opinion: Creating our own content will never replace traditional media

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Jon_smal.gifJonathan Weinberg writes…

2012, the year London is set to host the Olympics and also the year Nokia reckon a quarter of all entertainment will be created and consumed within peer communities. They think that in five years time, traditional media as we know it now, will begin to die out further with personally-created content becoming the must-read and must-watch for Internet users within their friend networks and social community sites.

But I just can’t see it. There’s no doubt it’s becoming more and more popular to make your own videos and post them on the web for all to see, but 99 per cent of it is absolute tosh – like the man who can juggle dogs while standing on his head drinking a glass of water and playing the harmonica! PS: Don’t try that at home, it doesn’t exist and we don’t condone cruelty to animals, I just use it as an illustration.

Nokia dub it ‘Circular Entertainment’ – which is another buzz word that means absolutely nothing and they claim a new survey has led them to reach the above conclusion. Well, no-one asked me! There is no subsitute for proper news from a proper source whether that’s a newspaper website, the BBC or ITN and the like. They can disect, assess and post stories like no-one else can.

What’s sure though is more and more people will start to become citizen journalists, complimenting the ‘official’ sources with their comment, snapshots and on-the-spot images and video, as we’ve seen emerging in the last couple of years.

Mark Selby, Vice President, Multimedia, Nokia, said: “From our research we predict that up to a quarter of the entertainment being consumed in five years will be what we call ‘Circular’. The trends we are seeing show us that people will have a genuine desire not only to create and share their own content, but also to remix it, mash it up and pass it on within their peer groups – a form of collaborative social media.”

We do that already though and have done for years. It’s no different to forwarding on a viral email or pasting a link on Facebook to something on the web for all our mates to see.

Mr Selby sees it as “someone shares video footage they shot on their mobile device from a night out with a friend, that friend takes that footage and adds an MP3 file – the soundtrack of the evening – then passes it to another friend. That friend edits the footage by adding some photographs and passes it on to another friend and so on. The content keeps circulating between friends, who may or may not be geographically close, and becomes part of the group’s entertainment.”

Hands up anyone out there who has time for that?! I’m happy to share a video of my friends on a night out or as I did recently, at a wedding – but I don’t think me adding Chesney’s One And Only to the action is going to make it any more attractive to be viewed.

Like good professional content has always driven radio, TV and newspapers, so it will drive the Internet on to greater things. It is often only reputable written words and visual stimulation that can inspire others to copy it by creating their own similar homegrown stuff – and that’s where the future lies.

Both will sit alongside eachother like music from Top 20 acts sits on the web with new tunes that litter MySpace and comment from well-known voices sits alongside the view from the man on the street. What we need is more partnerships and more interaction.

In the meantime, if anyone knows where I can find a video of a woman hopping on one leg, on a bed of nails, holding a flaming hoop that her cat is jumping through from one trampoline to another – please feel free NOT to share it with me!

Jonathan Weinberg