Archives for the month of: August, 2010

…wait, it smells good?

(And also, I’m really, reeeaally going to be brief here. Erm, I’ll try, anyway.)

Alright, I admit. That title is weird. Anyway, during my OJT days, my job was on the media monitoring side of things – which translated to being the assistant who took care of the news and magazine clippings plus the blogposts. It’s harder than it sounds, trust me. Anyways, it did provide me with greater appreciation for the printed word, which is part of the Old Media. I get to be newspapers and magazines all the time and trust me, I mourned over the fact that I can’t read them all.

Okay, so what’s this really about? Recently I got to read this online page about how ‘New Media’ and ‘Old Media’ are at odds with each other. They’re basically taking potshots at each another. Well, I haven’t seen bloggers and print journalists go on a verbal mudslinging, but I guess there is truly a tension in there, about how ‘the new is replacing the old’ and some other. And actually, it’s not limited to the ‘Internet VS the Old Media’ – this has been going on for a long time. Apparently every time a new form of media appears, it’s followed by a horde of pessimists discouraging people from using it because…well, they can be pretty creative with their reasons (ie “It can harm your mind!”). It’s only when people have adjusted and made it part of their lives do these doubts fade.

For me though, I patronize both types of Media, even though I can be considered as part of the Net Gen. Actually, for my daily news I prefer to read newspapers, magazines and watch the evening news – if I want something more specific, that’s the time to take the search online. I think they complement each other more than being deterimental. New Media can supplement what had been printed or aired and vice versa. Respected newspapers and news shows can publish/air their news from an objective point of view, and the netizens could provide their subjective take on the issue. I think they can both paint a bigger, more complete picture, and for me, that’s great.


Back to the short and sweet. Yeah.

Okay, so Sturgeon’s Law was something I’ve encountered while roaming that cursed territory known as TV Tropes. If we go by the site’s definition of Sturgeon’s Law (or Sturgeon’s Revelation, as it is more properly known) then we’ll be giving ourselves headaches, so we’ll just stick to the most basic definition (and I guess, the most relevant one):

90% of everything is crud.

The remaining 10% depends on your worldview: if you belong to the ‘half-empty’ camp, then the 10% is also crap. If you have faith in the world and is firmly in the ‘half-full’ camp, then the 10% redeems the rest.

Other than promoting TV Tropes Yet Again, what’s this all about? For me, with the coming of the Internet, this law has become more applicable than ever. Many, many things can be mass-produced online without the quality check. I’ve seen it myself. Fanfiction? Expect to slog through pages upon pages of search results searching for a story that won’t bleed your eyes. Graphics? The same. Online products? Be sure to check they aren’t hacks or worse, scams. Web services? Ditto. Online opinions? If they were voices, half the world would be deaf already.

Simply put, we’re inundated with online content. As I wade through pages upon pages of Hetalia fanart, I came to these little thoughts:

If you want the best, expect to waste time finding it.
If you want quality, then it’s pretty hard to find it online. Popularity does not assure quality. Check the references, look if it’s high-res, read the whole article for inconsistencies and such. Of course, there are the savvy ones who get the search engine optimizers to put their product/org names at the top of the search list, but laziness on your part (aka ‘It’s the first thing on the list – CLICK!”) kind of calls off the whole quality assurance thing.

…and if you have found what you think is ‘best’, spend time to make sure it isn’t crap.
Related to the first one. Double-checking is the key.

Don’t expect large numbers.
Unless you’re willing to dig wide and deep. If the subject being searched is popular/widely known, expect to get assaulted by massive numbers of mediocre, poor and downright unrelated content. If the subject is obscure, be assured of a lot of syntax and keyword wrangling just to bring in more results.

There is no consensus which, of a given body of work, belongs to the ‘crud’ and the ‘non-crud’.
Some people love Twilight, Eragon and the Sword of Truth books. Some don’t. Some think that Eminem’s latest album is great; others don’t. Your classmate might praise your newest sketch, but you personally consider it to be crap. Remember: everyone’s opinions differ, and don’t begrudge them for it. Maybe it’s even constructive criticism, especially if the work in question is yours. Your blood might be red to you, but others will call it scarlet. Or green.

Seriously now, I guess that’s one of the problems of the good ol’ Net: there’s no quality assurance. Oh, some communities might have, but in general it’s very, very easy to upload anything and everything. You have to know where and what to look, and it can get rather frustrating. Occasionally, the mediocre is so abundant we just give up altogether and settle for less. There are those who think they can get away with the subpar – because the intarwebz is filled with the subpar – so they do publish content of poor quality, thereby contributing to the number of junk littering cyberspace. The funny thing is, the occasional gem (factual information, high-res image, excellent fiction etc) found makes it shine all the more brighter since it’s found amidst the dull and grimy lot.

Now excuse me while I start my galaxy exploration (I’m starting to play Noctis, shh).

TV Tropes on Sturgeon’s Law

Still in the blog-dump. Man, how many have I missed, really?

For our starting startling statement for today: I don’t like internet ads.

Okay, not so shocking there, I know. Not that special. At one point or another, we have hated internet ads the same way we don’t like stupid TV commercials, in-the-way billboards and other advertisements that just don’t know how to respect your field of vision. For one thing, they’re known to destroy blog layouts. One ad was related to the computer virus I’ve somehow acquired at one time and proceeded to destroy some of my programs. There are pop-up ads (they still exist, apparently) which are simply and horribly annoying with their cockroach-worth insistence to be noticed. Then there are ads which trick gullible people into clicking them. Finally, they simply assault your eyesight with their clashing colors and atrocious blinking. What’s to love about these?

So here are some of the things I dislike about today’s internet ads:

1. ‘You won $XXXXXXX! Click to get your prize!’ – Really now. This one’s so old, those using them should be graduating to something better. Sure, real world advertising does dabble in ‘black magic’ (read: half-truths), but that type of ad is simply atrocious. I guess there are those who continue to fall for these, but whoever created and stuck to these ads until now should change their modus operandi, since people won’t be dopes forever. And they’re just plain deceiving, it’s unfair.

2. Flash-heavy ads – I really, really hate these kinds of ads, if only because they tend to work my CPU to death (my computer’s an old one). They also slow down the page download, and when people grow impatient, they simply stop browsing the page altogether. Bad.

3. ‘Sexy’ ads – Sex sells, alright. And the world is still a long way away from eradicating sexism. But come on – ads which utilize the female body to attract attention is offensive. I remember those ‘x-ray vision’ ads for the cellphone which shows a phone capable of ‘seeing through’ a woman’s clothing to see her underwear and that ‘soccer’ mini-game ad where you flick little soccer balls through a woman’s cleavage. I don’t even know what those ads are really about, but upon seeing them I simply ceased to care. I get that their target audience are males, but they’re just plain tasteless.

That’s a very short list there, and I know it should be longer, but these are the things I gather from the top of my head. Seriously now, I think Internet ads are trying so hard to impress and stand out from the multitude of content to be found, it’s simply painful. Internet ads had become so banal in all of its gaudy glory we have become desensitized and treat them as another piece of the webpage. Advertising should be focused on the message, but it’s often buried underneath all the sparkles and and deceit and flashy graphics. There are some ads that I don’t mind being there – such as the Google ad which generates a list of sites related to the current page you’re on – since they’re pretty easy on the eyes. Moreover, they’re straight to the point – these banner ads are all about the site so deliver it to the audience without the frills. Unfortunately, most of the ads I’ve seen aren’t like the Google ads – even if they’re only a bunch of moving, loud graphics, these internet ads still ‘push’ their way to your field of vision and you couldn’t even remove them. I don’t mind web ads being on the page, it’s just that they can be distracting and irritating.

I’ve long said and accepted that ‘anything goes’ online, but with people becoming more aware of the Internet’s shady and cliched shenanigans, the challenge for the advertisers is to stand out without resorting to the hackneyed tactics. Being straightforward and refreshing will truly make them stand out (well, just like in real life, ne?).