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]