Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Remix Culture

The other day when I was trying to come up with a topic for a post here, I started thinking about what it is I do in the process of choosing something to write about. First I check Facebook. Then I check Twitter. If nothing strikes me, I go read a few blogs.

Now, this isn't always the case, sometimes I do have something I know I want to talk about. But a lot of the time I find myself going to others to see what they are talking about or have found interesting. I don't see this as a bad thing - in fact, I see it as necessary to the creative process, at least to some extent.

My point is, what is really original content? Don't tell me you've come up with an idea nobody else has had, because I won't believe it. You might possibly have a new way of presenting it, or maybe even of analyzing it. Anyway, all creativity - music, art, writing, etc. - has always been influenced primarily by others, but at the very least by the creator's experiences.

I think the difference right now is, as usual, the ease of access. Information has, throughout most of history, been difficult to obtain. You had to put forth at least a little effort to find out what you wanted to know. Now, you can get there in a couple clicks and a short typed query. This is why there are so many current issues with copyright law - it's just that easy to access (and, basically, own) someone else's content.

This has created what I think of as a culture of remix. Songs, videos, writing, photography; anything can be, and has been, remixed into something new. A viral video can be auto-tuned and turned into a song. It is easier than ever for people to "borrow" what they see as the best parts of others' work and combine them in a new way. This is not just happening on the Internet, either; I've heard it happening in popular music as well. When it comes down to it, what's the difference between "inspired by" and "created from?" As usual, social media is good at blurring the lines.

Anyway, in case you're still trying to figure out what to blog about, check out this infographic by copyblogger.

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