Spending an evening listening to Ben Huh, the man behind websites such as icanhascheezburger (ICHC) and failblog, was the perfect way to grasp the anomaly which is the current era of the Internet.
To put things in perspective, more people will now first experience the internet via a smartphone than a laptop. Truly think about that single piece of information and it will be clear that the Internet is only in its very early stages.
Ben Huh’s story becoming the CEO of the Cheezburger Network started with a chance meeting with the founder of ICHC, Eric Nakagawa. With 2.25 million views at the time, Eric needed some help and overtime, and Ben Huh was able to buy the company. After raising significant amounts of funds, he turned the cat picture site and made more sites of similar focus.
Four of five websites that were launched were profitable. Today the Cheezburger Network runs 60 sites with 30 million daily users. This really shows how different internet culture is from the norm. Websites about cat photos aren’t supposed to be raging successes. It is because of this that ICHC and its affiliate sites are the embodiment of Internet culture.
Mass media was first made possible by radio. Before this every humour was made on an individual basis. However, radio has its downfalls as it is impersonal and hard to connect with personalities. Television links a face to the voice, but is still only a one way means of communication.
The Internet has ushered in a new era in which we choose who we wish to connect with and everyone is accessible. In collaboration we create the Internet and as a result the Internet is being built by the minds of average people. While before you would be singled out for being weird and unique, today you can easily connect with like minded people.
Google, Twitter, and Facebook are some of the most powerful media companies and none of them create their own content. This is the dramatic shift that is going to upset the power structures of mass media and likely soon overtake it.
Companies will try to monetize social media but social media is less about stalking customers as some may think and more about making connections. Being able to connect to a fan base on an emotional basis is the true power of the Internet today.
As we become more and more connected, we are more likely to advertise products for free to our own networks of friends, family, and followers. However, with so much information being created by everyone, there is a need to curate this and package it in a way that provides value. Sites like ICHC, reddit, and 4chan are all examples of the emerging forms of media in which users submit and choose content.
The Internet is the first man made structure that has as many connections as the human brain. For the first time, mankind has created something to rival our own complexity.
Being still in its infancy, it is important for us to be aware of the threats against the natural growth of its culture. Internet culture will eventually be synonymous with popular culture and be tailored to each of us.
So no matter if you want to be the intellectual following the latest of technological news here at Techvibes, or just want to see a picture of two kitties touching noses, there is something out there for you.