Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Agenda Setting

I started this blog commenting on blogs, a kind of involution, I know. Anyway, commenting on hype brought me back to the subject. What is hype, anyway? From the wonderfully indispensable dictionary.com:

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source - Share This
/haɪp/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[hahyp] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation verb, hyped, hyp·ing, noun Informal.

–verb (used with object)

1. to stimulate, excite, or agitate (usually fol. by up): She was hyped up at the thought of owning her own car.

2. to create interest in by flamboyant or dramatic methods; promote or publicize showily: a promoter who knows how to hype a prizefight.

3. to intensify (advertising, promotion, or publicity) by ingenious or questionable claims, methods, etc. (usually fol. by up).

4. to trick; gull.


5. exaggerated publicity; hoopla.

6. an ingenious or questionable claim, method, etc., used in advertising, promotion, or publicity to intensify the effect.

7. a swindle, deception, or trick.

[Origin: 1925–30, Americanism; in sense “to trick, swindle,” of uncert. orig.; subsequent senses perh. by reanalysis as a shortening of
hyperbole ]

Modern hype, in the Britney Spears sense, is a shameless, at-any-cost grab for media attention. In the Princess Diana sense, it’s something that is thrust upon the subject, no doubt with only nominal resistance, but is nevertheless persistent and audience-driven (she’s dead, remember, and ain't looking for any more publicity herself).

Blogs fuel hype – it’s all part of their amplification role. But don’t be fooled into thinking that the amplifier isn’t selective, as you can see from the attached chart from BlogPulse. I’ve graphed the blogging counts for SOA (nerd alert: service oriented architecture is a new movement in IT), for Web 2.0 (similar nerd alert applies), and George Bush (democracy alert on this one). Now, whether you think Bush is God’s gift to political life or a plaque on American values (correct answer is the latter), he is undoubtedly more significant, more known, more in the news than, say, Web 2.0. But you’ll see this is not reflected in the blogosphere: Web 2.0 is getting more attention than Bush.

Did anyone notice there’s a war going on?

No comments: