The Long Tail

What I found most interesting about the long tail article by Chris Anderson was the social impacts the Long Tail is starting to have on our society. Americans are constantly being labeled as a fat, stupid, lazy, egotistical society that cares about nothing else but themselves. To me it is exciting to see how people have started to take other less conventional interests through the simple suggestions they receive through their purchases on online stores such as Netflix and iTunes. Potentially the most interesting outcome may have to deal with the upcoming election. There is no doubt that this is the most diverse election our country has seen EVER! Whether it is racial, religious or gender lines that are being crossed, we have never had quite as eclectic a pallet as this.

I do find it troubling that somehow these companies are keeping track of all our records. Who knows how personal the information is. And who is to say the specific companies are the only ones looking at them. It seems whenever you make an online purchase you are immediately bombarded with e-mails from other rival websites trying to persuade you to buy their product, say hello to the 21st century's version of telemarketing. With the Patriot Act the government has new liberties to our personal information. Whether it is our library records or just our browsing history, the government seems to be monitoring us more closely these past few years.

Overall I found this article very reader friendly and for the most part enticing. It captured and held my attention, although he seemed to reiterate the same points frequently. The other "article" on the other hand was a little confusing. It seemed to mimic our on website, just a bunch of random blog entries. The whole Indonesian/Mc Donald's story was fascinating but did not seem to compliment the other article. I was left questioning whether I went to the right website or not.

I am also very curious to see how the internet and the long tail will affect the upcoming election. I think the long tail is especially prevalent with the supporters of Ron Paul. He has almost no areas of clustered support (although he did do relatively well in Nevada), yet his following online is fairly large. His online supporters are very vocal, and even though there aren't a huge number of them, they manage to keep him in the news and the videos floating around the web. There were enough supporters spread around the country to enable Paul to have the largest one-day fundraiser in history. I think they raised around $20 million in one day. That's pretty significant. Now, I don't really agree with the way many of his supporters force themselves onto others, nor do I really agree with Ron Paul himself, but the fact that these types of things are possible is a little comforting. I feel like it is much more possible for an individual to take a stand, even if the media and other high ranking officials are against them. In another way it is more possible for individuals to voice their support of candidates. Videos such as"Obama Girl" and the like are actually seen by a significant number of people and could (although I'm not saying they should) alter some people's perceptions. The internet truly changes everything.

The other article was of course Anderson's blog, so there's a reason why it resembled our blog! That said, I'm really glad you've made the connection here between the idea of the long tail and current modes of political engagement -- it's interesting to watch the ways that the internet has become part of political life, from MoveOn.org forward...