You Didn’t Make “The Harlem Shake” Go Viral, Corporations Did (article link at botttom)
Many of us think of internet connectivity as some kind of democratizing force.
As if what gets talked about and the information that’s exchanged is decided simply by the people, by what’s “hot”. Not like, TV, or “mainstream media”.
In truth, most of the content and trending is still set by corporate agenda. But, unfortunately, now we think things trend simply based on what “the people” are feeling or into.
Even what you see on your Facebook home page is based on what Facebook Inc. wants you to see and is controlled through their algorithm programming. (I won’t even touch on the obvious- that a good portion of what’s talked about are things that first occurred on a major corporate outlet in the first place, and within the framework that those outlets set up.)
This is dangerous, since we end up thinking that we have a sense of the opinions and tastes of the world around us- based off what we see and read on the internet.
This article below shows how the “Harlem Shake” viral phenomenon was a corporate orchestrated event, dressed in organic populist clothing.
If this can easily be done with cultural memes, think what happens with ideas about movements- i.e. what happened with Occupy- are at stake.
How many people, when debating their involvement or non-involvement with Occupy said- “Everybody thinks this” or “Everybody thinks that”. Now, how much of their knowledge of what “Everybody thinks” came from the internet? Could corporations make articles with certain jargon pop to the top of your newsfeed- or search results- while not having others show up? I have no proof that this happened, but isn’t it scary that it can happen- now that this is how most people get their information about the world?
In the short run, we need to stay up on their skills on things like wheat-pasting posters, and doing murals to get info out. And we need real world campaigns around changing people’s material conditions- which expose how the system works and shows people that the way to change things is class struggle via a direct-action radical militant mass movement, because what we put up on the internet can be easily hidden from most people’s sight.