Digital Nerd

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Just Watch, Just Listen

Via Morph:
Late last year, a contributor to a message board on massively multiplayer role-playing games discovered a remarkable Google query. By typing inurl:"ViewerFrame?Mode=" into the search engine, anyone could gain access to hundreds of unsecured Webcams trained on random corners of the world.

It was the most mundane thing imaginable. But it was mesmerizing. (And, yes, frightening.)

As more people record more of their lives digitally, the amount of found media is skyrocketing. Like all the other media proliferating on the Internet, 90% of this found media is interesting only to a very narrow few. But the other 10%, boy, that's a gold mine. Four times as interesting as anything we could produce or package.

How do we find that 10%? You tell me. Or rather, let the distributed searching power of your audience tell you. But find it. And when you do, give it the space to work its magic.

Last year, remarking on the documentary phenomenon Fahrenheit 9/11, critic after critic dwelt on the footage culled from 7 minutes of President Bush reading The Pet Goat to a crowded classroom. Placed in just the right context amidst hours of footage recorded especially for the documentary, this innocuous little found moment stuck out.

Keep your eyes and ears open for Pet Goat moments. When big news breaks, the lens that captures the most affecting sight might not always be at the scene.

Once a month, pick up an issue of Harper's and flip through the Readings.

Listen to the "Telephone" episode of This American Life.

Leave the recording device on 10 seconds longer than your instinct tells you to.

Read this. Scroll through these (but not at work). Stop by here every now and then.


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