Kanye West’s intervention at the MTV Video Music Awards last weekend has predictably set off an online avalanche of mashups, parodies and comical asides. (There is a top 10 at Mashable.com if you need a quick brush-up.)
The snapshot above, kanyelicio.us, is a fairly clever example where you can make your own personalized Kanye comment on any web site of choice.
Now, the general tone in reporting on the online productivity of entertainment audiences tends to be appreciative and even somewhat triumphant: “It is amazing what the masses can do, even though they are not mainstream producers.”
But think about how many times the concepts MTV, VMA, Kanye West, Taylor Swift and Beyonce have been activated in people’s minds in the last five days thanks to the prolific online activity. Think about how much that activation is worth in an economy driven mainly by brands and attention. Finally, think about how conveniently Kanye West appeared on the stage and how even more conveniently Taylor Swift got her microphone time back later in the show.
My sense is that the speed of the collaborative media can work for mainstream producers as well as for the people-formerly-known-as-consumers, as long as they are played skillfully. There is no dichotomy here, but rather a self-sustaining system that several groups of actors help to run.