Gawker and Jarvis: populist innovators
Friday, December 20th, 2002
I thought Gawker just aimed to recycle gossip and cool Manhattan anecdotes. That would have been good enough. But there’s more. It’s worth listing the editorial tropes Gawker is exploiting:
a) Posting editor/publisher IM conversations.
b) Recycling reviews of Gawker.
c) Taunting Mefi and recycling the retorts. (a + b = c)
d) Lists and (coming December 31, I predict) lists of lists.
e) Celebrating classifieds as content.
f) Publishing footnotes.
None of this is unique. But consistently applied and exploited, these tropes make for Really Brilliant New Media.
At the same time, Jeff Jarvis has spent $99 on a new piece of software and is experimenting with video weblogging, or vlogging. He says: “The truth is, all you do to make TV is stare at a camera and read and say something: It’s easy. There’s no reason a blogger should not be the next Andy Rooney or Charles Grodin or Ann Coulter (easy marks, all!). I’d take any of their jobs, tomorrow.”
Actually, there’s a common theme between vlogging and Gawker. While some Mefi folks are deriding Gawker as elitist, totally missing the site’s irony, they also miss the site’s populism in style and content. Hiding beneath the veneer of “real estate porn” and “social climbing,” the most interesting content is purely found media — classifieds, IM, recycled reviews — other people’s discards. Like vlogging, it is something anyone can do… but only 1 in 10,000 will do well.