Profiting From the Internet

Be honest, at some point in your life you’ve probably watched a video that has gone viral on YouTube. It could be anything, it could be one of those cat in a box videos or an online comedian or even a music video. With the expansion of the Internet people are actually able to make money off the videos they post to platforms like YouTube.

According to this article from The New York Times people are able to make a living off of their online videos and no longer need to work because their income is funded by their online videos. It’s great. People are able to make a living by creating engaging videos, but how long can they keep that up for? Well, if the video posters are Internet savvy they manage to maintain their audience and increase it by adapting and keeping up with online trends. For example, Hannah Hart the creator of the “My Drunk Kitchen” videos went from just trying to cook while she got comically drunk to including other YouTube sensations in her videos. From there she has gone on to act in movies like Camp Takota and is supposed to star in a re-boot of Electra Woman and Dyna Girl. Hart went from making silly videos in her kitchen to acting for Hollywood. That’s a really cool way to start a career and it also reveals how powerful the Internet can be.

While making money from the Internet seems great, there can be some down sides as illustrated through the backlash Arianna Huffington received after she sold The Huffington Post to AOL. She was called a “sellout” and has been widely criticized for profiting from the work of her unpaid bloggers that contribute content to the site. In fairness, she should have been paying her bloggers since they were creating the content and driving people toward the website.

So while some people like Hannah Hart are supported for profiting from their online content, others like Huffington (who founded HuffPo) are criticized and seen as selling out because they tried to make a profit.

Who defines the media

With the rise of the internet and the blogosphere how can we determine who is and isn’t a journalist? Should every person clickity clacking away on a keyboard be given press credentials?

In 2008 Oregon sought to create parameters for who is considered to be a member of the media after the Lake Oswego City Council refused to admit a local blogger to their executive proceedings. Blogger, Mark Bunster’s story kicked up a controversy on what was considered to be journalism.

According to The Oregonian article, Lake Oswego was looking to define media outlets as “institutionalized,” “well-established” and producing at least 25 percent news content. Well look at that! Who determines what is well-established? Does anybody else have that dark tingling of censorship looming over their shoulder?

This definition of course led to a flurry of concern in the journalistic community seeing as the definition was primarily excluding members of independent media and preventing the presence of new media outlets from attending these sessions. If the outlet is brand new how can it gain any level of “established” when the government is trying to block them from covering the news?

In 2010 iMediaEthic’s updated the story by explaining the formal guidelines put in place by Lake Oswego. The article said official media membership was defined as ”

  • A blogger can be included “As long as he is a part of an institution and committed to compliance with the law.”
  • Media is “any organization that has been previously recognized as eligible to attend executive sessions.”
  • Members of two Oregon media organizations — the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association and the Oregon Association of Broadcasters — and the Associated Press are allowed.
  • “Non-traditional media” must pass a “two-part test” including regular publication and institutionalization (defined as having “multiple personnel” and a methodology for corrections)”

According to these guidelines solo bloggers would not be able to attend these proceedings because they fail to meet the “multiple personnel” criteria. It does prompt the question, what is Lake Oswego afraid the media will uncover if they did allow solo bloggers to attend their meetings? Are they afraid that the next John Marshall (the founder of Talking Points Memo, originally a solo blogger operation) is going to unearth an important story about the city? What is going on in Lake Oswego?

Blogging and Revolution

This piece focuses on the role the internet and blogging have played in major revolutionary events. In this New York Times article the journalist, Jennifer Preston takes the time to recognize how social media and blogging aided the growth and the public resistance against the Egyptian government.

The Facebook page, We are Khaled Said brought the attention to issues of police brutality. From there people would post photos and videos Said’s brutal end as well as what his life had been like before he died at the hands of two policemen. The images of what had happened to Said, an ordinary man, made him a symbol. People viewed what had happened to Said and were enraged, the brutality couldn’t go on any longer.

“He is a big part of our revolution,” said Hudaifa Nabawi, a 20-year-old student in Tahrir Square on Saturday. ‘Khalid Said was a special case. He didn’t belong to any faction, and he didn’t do anything wrong. He became the way to focus our perceptions around the oppression that all the youth all face. You can consider him a symbol’.”

Without blogging and social media the issue of police brutality in Egypt may not have been as widely promoted. Blogs about police brutality existed prior to Said’s attack and death but it wasn’t until after his attack was blogged about and posted about that it became a widely discussed issue. Without the outrage over Said’s death, his murders may not have been brought to justice. Without the campaign over Said’s death the issue of police brutality may not have received the international attention it gained. The bloggers proactively used their outrage to gain momentum with Egypt’s revolution.