In reading New New Media as well doing research for my upcoming paper next week, I've noticed some ways that new content can be delivered to people through the new new media outlets. I've noticed to be especially true in music, but it can definitely apply to many other media as well. Word of mouth is still one of the biggest ways for people to find new forms of entertainment, but it's amazing to see how the definition of "word of mouth" has evolved to include things such a a blog post, a tweet, a Myspace comment, and so many other things. And since this is a blog after all, I'll use myself as an example here.
I'll get this out of the way right now - I am a metal fan. It is the form of music I love more than any other, and even though I have a passing interest in a few other styles, metal is by far the number one style to me. There is very limited outlet for this music in popular culture. Outside of artists that have cracked into the mainstream (Metallica), you won't hear too many metal bands on regular radio rotations. Granted, WSOU has a predominantly metal format, but they are a college radio station and are also forced to abide by some pretty strict artist requirements. So for me, the internet proved to be a valuable source for finding new music. It started off as simple things on websites - "if you like x, try y," for example. But I was generally only limited to what I could physically purchase, and seeing as I was just a younger version of me my funding was limited. But as technology evolved, my way of finding music changed with it. My friends could send me songs directly, and I could seek them out myself as well. We would use the new media technology of the internet to interact with each other and spread the word. However, with the advent of new new media, the possibilities have become far greater than I could have ever imagined.
I get friend requests on Myspace every single day from bands around the world. You surely do too. Most of these bands are probably not very good and I will never listen to any of them. But they have been able to somehow acknowledge that I may be interested in them, whether through a connection with another band on the site, through some information on my profile, or perhaps something I had posted at some point of another. Who knows. But this band from who knows where can now connect to me, and I can reciprocate through listening to their music, commenting on their stuff, passing their music along, and maybe even checking out a show they have listed on their page. There are plenty of ways to connect with the band through Myspace, and they are given plenty of ways to reach me and millions of other people. Bands can now create accounts on Facebook as well to spread news, post content, and link to content they have on other new new media sites (YouTube is a very popular one). There are countless other sites as well that bands can use to connect to fans, and it has made a great deal of music more accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
It is also interesting to see how people can use these new new media sites to spread their own content through other outlets. Somebody can post a YouTube video of their own as a "response" to an existing video (Levinson discussed this in the book). I can post a comment on a band's Myspace saying "if you like x, check out y!" and the band themselves can do the same thing. It's funny that "if you like x, check out y!" has existed throughout the forms of media, whether on the radio, the internet, and now new new media. As I write this blog even, I am listening to music on Pandora, a site that offers me music based on my musical preferences. In addition to being shown related artists, I can read about the artist playing and even buy their music. This is a format that exists all over the internet now, with even Myspace and Facebook pages linking up content from multiple sources to deliver content and also sell existing products.
And of course, my friends can still serve as a great outlet. They can blog about something they found, or they can send me a Myspace page directly (honestly, music is the only reason why I even have a Myspace account anymore). In fact, rather than send each other songs online (in the new media days) or trade physical CDs (in the old media days), we now exchange links in this new new media age. On Facebook, my friend can suggest that I become a "fan" of something. I don't use Twitter, but I'm sure there is a way to pass along stuff on there as well. Levinson mentioned a shout feature on Digg (another site that I don't use and honestly have seen very little of) that my friends on there can use to pass along stuff I may find interesting. So even though word of mouth my never go away, it's amazing to see the number of forms it has taken on.
Advertisers are even tapping into this information, using information on your profiles on the various social networking sites to send you targeted ads based on your favorite movies, TV shows, music, and even your relationship status. I've seen plenty of band recommendations and sites trying to sell me plenty of Big Lebowski merchandise. Even though many people may see this as a little bothersome, it's definitely interesting to see how targeted information is working and becoming more and more targeted as "it" learns more about you. Curious as to how much this costs versus more traditional forms, and whether or not sites like Hulu and Pandora will be able to cash in on this in the long-run.