Time magazine calls this sort of playfield-leveling a “new digital democracy.” Perhaps. But what seems more interesting is that while technology — moviemaking, recording radio shows, networking on a grand scale — used to be a thing of privilege, now it’s for everybody.
Case in point: one of the biggest Kings of the Mountain felt the only way he could comment on the phenomenon was to dismiss it. “I don’t surf the net, no, I never been on MySpace,” said Jay-Z in “Beach Chair” from his post-retirement Kingdom Come CD. Of course, this is also the album whose early leak caused Universal to sue MySpace. (And never mind that in Sean Carter’s Hewlett-Packard commercial, Jay-Z admits to playing chess and tracking his stocks online.)
Think about it: everybody’s using the Web to define themselves these days. The only way you’d already heard LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver was by finding the You-Send-It link. You probably found out about that crazy loft dance night from a particular message board. Your favorite DJ? He has a blog, probably even a fat directory of digital mixes. So-called “tastemakers”? They’re regularly scouting and/or writing about their thoughts. Your little cousin? He’s got a MySpace page.
The New York Times may think it takes a certain kind of “geek” to spend a significant amount of time online. But according to Time magazine’s Person of the Year, that “geek” is you.
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