I recently bought an Internet radio gadget that lets me listen to Australia’s Radio National while sitting and knitting on my back porch, away from my computer(s). This afternoon I was doing exactly that when I heard a lengthy interview with the creators of a Melbourne-based art project called Wayfarer. (It doesn’t look like the audio’s available online for download, though it will air again a couple of times over the next few days if you want to listen live online.)
Anyway, in this interview, the creators, Kate Richards and Martin Coutts, said that Wayfarer v2 is a “world first” because it is a “hybrid” event, mixing real-world activities (people running round making videos) with online participation (uploading to Youtube, commenting via Twitter.) To which I can only say:
Listen, you ignorant blowhards. Just because you’ve never heard of it before doesn’t mean you’re the first to come up with it. It just means that, like almost everyone in Australia, you are seriously out of touch with global Internet culture. Have you not even heard of the Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge that’s been running since 2002? Let me break it down for you. The SWFMC gets teams to:
- Create home-made films, then
- Upload them to the Internet, where they are
- Voted on by the community
Sound familiar? Yeah, great “world first” you’ve got there, Wayfarer.
I’ve been ranting about this to anyone who’ll listen for a while now, though I will admit I got particularly frothy around the chops at the recent Vegemite iSnack 2.0 travesty.
Apple’s iMac was launched in 1998, and people were making parody iEverything products within minutes. Even before that it was eEverything and NetEverything, and you’d better believe that each generation of InterSuperCyberSurfing products — most with no relation whatsoever to Internet technology — looked tireder and sadder than the last. Even toaster manufacturer Breville beat you by 8 years and trademarked iSnack in 2001, then didn’t manufacture anything with that name, presumably because someone there actually uses the Internet or at least knows someone who does and thought to ask them.
As for the “2.0″, Tim O’Reilly coined the term back in 2004, and has moved on these days to Web Squared. Plenty of people are talking about Web 3.0, too, though those who work in the field (I’m one of them) usually roll their eyes at it — to be honest, it was a bit passÃ© by early 2008. Web 2.0 is hardly the hip new thing the kids are using anymore: even the Liberal Party of Australia and the Commonwealth Bank are on Twitter these days.
And don’t even get me started on the parochialism displayed around the Hey Hey blackface incident, which demonstrated on so many levels how disconnected many Australians are from global culture. The best bit? Australian media’s apparent surprise that people outside Australia would notice and comment. Because this Youtube thing’s a bit groundbreaking, you know? A world first! It’s like living in the future — if you’re from 2003.
People ask me why I left Australia, and whether I’m planning to go back. Sure, I plan to go back, but until I find a way of dealing with wilful Internet cluelessness like the above without tearing my hair out, I won’t be able to work there.