satellite

We Have Just Taken Over All Airwaves

Do not attempt to change the channel, for we have occupied all frequencies. We will control the bass. We will control the treble. We can change the sound waves from piercing highs, to thundering lows. For the next few minutes your mind, body, and soul will be unavoidably infiltrated by the almighty supernatural powers... of the Tibetan jam.

This may come as a complete shock to you, but the blunt reality is that almost all of the bandwidth on the internet is taken up by entertainment. It's not people working. It's not people studying. It's not even people communicating. It's almost entirely people playing games and watching videos. The rest of it is mostly people reading bad fan fiction about their favourite characters in games and videos.

Well, okay, and books. But books don't really take up much bandwidth.

But here's the key element here in why all of this matters to you: most people are not producing any of this stuff. They simply consume it. But in the consumption, they define their own opinions and ideals.

If you look at all the people who watch Bill Maher or Rush Limbaugh, their politics are pretty much exactly the same as whomever they watch. They gravitated to Bill or Rush because they already thought a particular way, kind of. And over time, Bill and Rush reinforced and extended that way of thinking until it began to be exactly the same.

There is absolutely no reason why you can't do this yourself.

No, I don't mean "watch Bill Maher or Rush Limbaugh until you think just like they do." I mean "broadcast your ideas and opinions to people who kind of agree with you until they agree with you completely."

Well, you can look at this two ways, actually. On the one hand, by telling people what you think, you are indeed altering what they think. And on the other, whenever you cross an important line in your thinking, some of the people who disagree with you will leave.

Meanwhile, the people who join your audience know more and more about what you think and are therefore closer to it than your existing audience was when they started out. And the end result is that you gather an audience which gradually becomes more and more like you.

Now, technically, blogging is broadcasting. Emailing your list is broadcasting. Selling your product is broadcasting. But what really connects people to you is your voice (Rush Limbaugh on his radio show) or your appearance (Bill Maher on his television programme). So you need to get yourself onto either a microphone (for a podcast) or a camera (for a video).

It doesn't have to be live. Plenty of people don't do live. Most of your audience won't be there live anyway - one of the major benefits of the internet is the rescheduling of stuff to match your own wants, needs, and desires.

That's why broadcast television is falling over and dying; nobody wants to be there Wednesday at 8 PM to watch your show when they can download it on the internet and watch it whenever they want. Even when people don't download, many of them just plain wait for the DVD.

And in this world, it's important for you to start producing content, not just consuming (or curating) it. This is a major gear-shift for most people: we spend a lot of time consuming content and most of us spend almost no time creating it, except in reference to other content.

But if you want to be relevant to other people, you have to produce something that nobody else produces, Something distinctly different from what other people are producing.

And most importantly, something entertaining to other people. Something which people enjoy consuming. Something your audience will seek out from you because they not only can't get it anywhere else, but the potential alternatives are not as much fun.

Every year, broadcast television introduces a collection of new shows, and every year three or four of those shows have effectively the same plot. By the end of the season, one of those shows will "win" the audience by being more fun to watch than the others, and the next season will involve that show following the "known good formula" of all television programmes while the rest either get cancelled or do weird stuff with varying degrees of desperation.

So the key element is that once you get started, follow a known good formula and don't do weird stuff out of desperation. The known good formula of all entertainment is 20% completely new, 30% new but similar, and 50% exactly the same.

Seriously, go watch some sequels to movies, and you can accurately predict their box office success by their adherence to this formula. In fact, you can usually predict the success of a non-sequel by its adherence to this formula compared to other successful movies.

There's another critical element which I'll cover... oh, you know when.