Epic – is this the future?

Last year a professor pointed out this amazing 10-minute online video entitled “Epic” (Update: I just found out there’s a newer version here.) that I’ve been obsessed with ever since. I’ve been dying to talk to someone about it. To date I’ve found nobody else (other than my class) who has seen it. Our professor showed it to us under the guise that it had been someone’s graduate research project. I’ve been unable to verify. It’s pretty cool. I just find it incredibly fascinating and a little scary. Not scary in the “I see dead people” sense, but scary because I see this consumer-generated content concept, specifically the blogosphere phenomenon, as actually headed in this direction.

Hardcopy newspaper readership is down, online credibility is reasonably questioned (or should be), and – as my colleague Beth points out to me as often as she can – the blogosphere is like a big wheel of “news” that may or may not actually go anywhere. Some blog writers resource other blogs content without actually adding any value. What’s the point? Where’s your opinion? Okay, some would argue that having an opinion isn’t the same as adding value, but at least it’s a start. It shows a little effort.

And how about a little fact checking? Traditional journalists are held to pretty high standards. Shouldn’t people on the ‘net who scream to be taken seriously be held accountable for what they write, as well?

I’m interested in your thoughts on the Epic video. With all the craziness going on with Google right now, I find this conjecture irresistible. Is this something we should fear? Is it something that could happen? What will this mean to PR folks? Where will we send our press releases!? *gasp!* Is 2014 too far a prediction for this to be happening? Let me know, I’m craving to talk about this.

UPDATE: Apparently I’ve missed the boat on this. Neville Hobson blogged about this last June and just posted something today (2/4) about it. What he writes is even creepier than I could have imagined.

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4 Responses

  1. I remember the video. I remember the scenario. Google takeover. No more newspapers…what is scary to me is not the notion of take over, but being identified, labeled, profiled, and monitored online. Everything you and I do on Google and the Internet is tracked and at any given time the Government or any organization can pinpoint what I am doing, bills I’ve paid-note to self reconsider this method-and e-mail I’ve sent and read and what I have purchased. That to me is frightening.
    In 2014 PR will be a whole different beast and so will the way PR functions. Press Releases well they may be nonexistent…

    And in regards to the above, I suggest reading the following: The Natural Life Cycle of new media evolution” Lehman-Wilzig and Cohen-Avigdor, 2004. Actually everyone should read this article. If you would like it e-mailed to you let me know. Essentially, the author’s developed a model for new media and one of the final stages is Obsolescence-the traditional medium does not successfyully adapt to change it declines/disappears–newspapers is all I have to say.

  2. Beth,
    There is no doubt that newspapers could be going the way of the telegraph http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/06/technology/06telegram.html
    But there’s no reason to start playing “Taps” on our bugles, yet. The Hobson & Holtz Report (don’t remember which number, sometime in January, 2006) noted that newspapers had certainly better find a way to alter their content or waft into oblivion. In certain circles, who would actually call what you read in the newspaper “news”? It’s usually hours or days old by the time it’s gone to print. Except local stories or op-ed pieces or in-depth interest pieces. News implies that it’s, well, new. And if it’s a hot topic or a timely story, it will be all over CNN, the radio, and the Internet and be old before ink ever hits paper. Everyone said that radio would be gone when TV came about, and now they’re singing the blues for the newspapers, too. I don’t buy it, radio adapted and is going strong (some might argue). Newspapers need to realize this soon.

  3. Thanks for the video, Luke. I’ve made it delicious to share with my classmates. Thanks so much!

  4. Chris,
    I’m glad you enjoyed it. With social media going the way it is these days, it won’t be long until this becomes an actual fear. Right? The scary thing about it is that content will actually become meaningless, if no one is fact checking, editing or proofing this stuff, we’ll have lame, empty words. I could listen to people in airports talk if I wanted that sort of dialogue. Sometimes knowing hard news is out there makes it easier for me to sleep at night.

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