Home On Sensationalism and New Media

On Sensationalism and New Media

Martijn van Osch did an experiment with digg, in which he submitted a story about a company that made a girl undress in the shopping window of its store in Copenhagen.

In his post he linked to a short movie available of the girl undressing and the people gathering to get a glimpse of her. He thought it would be perfect for digg. Says Martijn:

“Entertainment and sex in one message. Great! The technology-element is the fact that the girl is only a projection on a see-through screen. Sex, check. Entertainment, check. Technology, check.”

The story, entitled Girl undresses in 3D, got well over 800 diggs and apparently Martijn got around 11,000 visits to his site as a result. Despite this page views bounty, Martijn thinks the results of his experiment show worrying signs for the future of media:

“The fact that ‘Girl undresses in 3D’ can become the number one top story on a website which is referred to as an example of future media models, scares me.”

My opinion? Well this really speaks more about digg’s current target audience than the actual digg system. But in fairness you only need to look at the raging success of new Silicon Valley gossip site Valleywag, to see that even us older geeks are prone to getting giddy on sensationalism.

Of course the same thing happens in ‘old media’ – e.g. tabloids and indeed most mainstream news publications serve up a steady fare of sensationalism. It sells and that’s the ugly truth. In the new media world, it’s just as true. Not just for digg, but the blogosphere – as Russell Beattie summed up nicely a couple of weeks ago:

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