The Long Tail

It’s a truism to say that the ‘net is ideal for a long tail, of material of interest to someone, but at best very marginal value or interest to the world at large. Vanity publishing, personal pages, personal blogs, social media, etc, etc.

It even has sophisticated Peer Review processes: a page with Google pagerank 9 is one that the world considers a leader in its field, while a PR4 is a long tail and might be of interest if you are looking to solve a very specific problem it happens to address outside the mainstream.  There’s even a competing hierarchy of peer review systems, with middle-ranking systems like the once-useful but perhaps too easy to subvert Tripadvisor and its peers, niche systems designed to measure one’s own effectiveness, and a long tail of wannabes.

But yesterday listening to the radio I was reminded that a long tail of marginal material and even utter dross doesn’t originate online.  If there’s so much that’s great in the Edinburgh fringe, how come the BBC broadcasts so much that’s – to put it very politely – utterly mediocre?

[correction: not yesterday, it was Saturday the Edinburgh crap on Radio 4 really excelled itself]

Posted on August 17, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I went to the fringe way back in 2003 – my partner’s then-teenage son was in a theatre show there (which was okay as far as youth theatre goes – a rather earnest piece about the First World War). There were thousands of acts and we went to a dozen or so. Most were rubbish, although two exceptional highlights were Guy Masterson’s brilliant and energetic one-man performance of Under Milk Wood (which was highly visual as well as oral, so would not have done well on radio) and a hilarious and quirky Slovenian folk band called Terrafolk (also dependent on “being there” to appreciate fully). I guess a lot of the shows were very much of the “live” genre that probably wouldn’t translate well onto radio, but there was a colossal amount of dross, indeed often the quirky venues (of which there were many) would be more interesting than the shows themselves… hardly surprising since anyone can pitch up and perform, providing they can find a space. But the weather that year was glorious, the craic was great and the beer was surprisingly good too…

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