GrahamLally linked this :

which inspired me to rant on his blog :

You don't know whether to laugh or cry do you? How FUCKING obtuse are some people (both big media + this guy)

Hello! Big media? Wake up! THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU!!!

Yes! It's caused by the media.

No! It's not caused by your, broadcast, media. Don't bother congratulating yourselves by wallowing in mock self-flagelation.

Notice that thing about camera cellphones? Yep? This is ordinary teenage low-level violence, given a boost by two-way, PeerToPeer media; the same StigmergicInspiration that gives energy to the BazaarOfViolence in Iraq. Coming from a play-ground near you ...

And no, you can't stop it by regulating the broadcast media. It doesn't live there.

Ah, but...

I think it's useful to divide this up in a different way - not between broadcast media and P2P media ("social" media?), but more the desired audience that the media generates. In other words, small-scale social "popularity" is more important than nation-wide "popularity", or coverage. I think there are 2 reasons for this:

Popularity amongst friends is better (read "more practical"), obviously. There's not much point in being famous to people you never meet. This gives rise to the popularity of social media (phones, messaging, e-mail, etc).

It's (now, more than ever) much easier to disseminate some material/content amongst a small, local group. Compare global news stories to "local" stories - if both get the same number of column inches, there's obviously going to be "bigger" stories on the global news than on local - a simple by-the-numbers thing.

In other words, I think we're moving from TheCultOfCelebrity era, in a worldwide broadcast media sense, to TheCelebrityOfTheCult era, in which we only get to be famous for 5 minutes, and to fewer people. The big upside, realised by emerging technology, is that it's much, much easier to obtain. These "cults", or non-mainstream movements, spring up all over the place. [b3ta b3ta]] represents one aspect, tying in with things like [Weebl Weebl]] to create a pocket of short-lived fame for people, that only last as long as it's not mainstream. Jackass certainly comes from the same field.

So, in some sense, one could predict that by overhyping Happy Slapping in the broadcast media, the trend (if it exists) also has a good chance of dying off by being made too popular.

Right now, I think the technology is being used by a society completely influenced by mainstream broadcast media - the TV and tabloids of the country have a lot to answer to, IMHO. The important thing is to use that disruptive power to get responsibility back into the hands of the people to make their own decisions.