One of the most revolutionary consequences of digital media is the shift of production and distribution capabilities from the traditional media gatekeepers to the People. We ordinary schmoes who used to exclusively sit in the audience now have new roads to publishing or entertainment success, whether that’s defined as having an audience wider than our friends and family, or actually generating income from blogging, music, video or creating an entertainment personality.
One of the more inspirational examples of the latter was recently pulled of by the son of a professional colleague of mine. I’m not at liberty to disclose the details, but this 30-something individual had been teaching science in New York city high schools for several years when he began creating vodcasts for a How To/DIY website for negligible remuneration. In the process, he developed a quirky, entertaining persona that might be described as Bill Nye the Science Guy for the YouTube attention span. His vodcasts became the most popular feature on the site, and as they say in show biz, one thing led to another, and the vodcaster landed a contract to produce a pilot series for a popular cable channel. This is the classic Cinderella story 2.0 that every band and self-proclaimed comedian on My Space and YouTube dreams of, and points to whenever parents or spouses show any impatience with their career path. And point to it they should, because it’s a great example of the democratization of opportunity that digital media is enabling.