Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fate of The Young Turks

When I first discovered The Young Turks (T.Y.T.) on YouTube, I immediately fell in love. They were angry and concise. They knew the attention span of the YouTube audience. Here's a short bio at their Wikipedia page. Something seems to be going wrong. A barely noticeable shift in production technique that might qualify as "creeping normality" toward a Main-Stream Media (M.S.M.) model.

Unlike broadcast television, YouTube has no time constraints, so messaging can be as short or long as necessary to get the point across, you don't have to fill time with speculation and punditry.

Not many people realize this, but as an audience of the Internet, people tend to seek out messages that validate their preexisting beliefs. Most people choose to avoid messages that challenge their beliefs.

In the old days when there were only three major broadcast television networks, everyone was directly confronted with information that conflicted with their own belief systems. Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite held captive nearly the entire United States population as their audience.

Back to T.Y.T.; I began to notice a gradual shift in the production techniques. At first they would report the facts and make their points, but then casually speculate and converse about the subject, but this technique actually reveals how little they actually know about a subject. I'm speaking as a 51 year old, so maybe I'm being unfair because they really are very young individuals.

The next thing I noticed was a gradual shift toward more human interest subjects and social issues that were long ago pegged as divisive or frivolous by other alternative Internet news outlets.

Many of the topics were already ubiquitous on the M.S.M.. I couldn't understand why this was happening, but maybe it was a kind of psychological infection borne from the need to monitor the M.S.M. for critical evaluation and reporting.

I worried they might be going back to sleep.

The alternative might be that they are trying to reach the M.S.M. audience, draw them in, and then wake them up with the truth. A tactic like this requires compartmentalization, so the audience fully indoctrinated with the truth can still enjoy their reports, while the sleepy, yet-to-be awoken audience can be hooked.

Every kind of Internet media production faces this dilemma. How do you keep preaching to your choir and yet manage to challenge the beliefs of, and recruit outsiders? Bait.

I'm suddenly reminded of Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. The problem in talking up to the lowest intellect of the public to gain their trust is keeping the audience you already have. I must accept that this is the goal, but as a long-time fan of T.Y.T., I'm having ever-increasing difficulty enduring.
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