In the USA, already 93% of people under 18 are online. A massive group, which is probably the main driving force behind changing how the Web looks, and they are actually doing quite a good job in making it mainstream and pop. The Web used to be a part of the geeky subculture, but lately it's becoming just one of the mass media, another television on steroids.
A great example of this pop transformation are top videos on YouTube. Star Wars Kid, David After Dentist and other classic home-made videos are starting to look unimpressive compared to Lady Gaga's and Justin Bieber's music videos. If you check the current list of most viewed videos, you can see that YouTube is really becoming more of a PopTube, where record labels are dominating the chart with high budget music videos. Lady Gaga managed to be the first pop artist with the most viewed YouTube video, but was quickly dethroned by Bieber. A sad fate for the biggest online video sharing tool.
When people who actually have something smart to say are getting less followers on Twitter than pop princesses, you know something's gone wrong. Ashton Kutcher, the king of Twitter and the guy who beat CNN to one million followers, was overtaken by Britney Spears in the number of followers just a few moths ago. This is just the beginning - the following list provides information about top Twitter users, where you can see more and more pop stars whose accounts are emerging and taking the lead. Perhaps I'm not the correct target group, but Britney's Twitter account with her 423 tweets pretty much sucks!
Google is kind enough to allow us insight into it's most popular searches of every year, which offers great overview of the culture of a specific era (Google Zeitgeist: 2007, 2008, 2009). This is The spirit of the times, as seen by world's biggest search engine:
- In 2007, there were no people or other pop brands on the top 10 list of searches.
- In 2008, Sarah Palin became 1st and Obama took 6th place, but that was mostly because of the US presidential elections, which can't really be considered pop. Pop star searches included Heath Ledger on 5th (because of his death) and the band Jonas Brothers on 10th place.
- In 2009, the trend of pop searches continued. Michael Jackson became 1st (due to this death), New Moon (Twilight movie) finished 6th and Lady Gaga 7th. Creepy enough, but wait until Justin gets on the list in 2010.
These are some of the cases showing the evolution of the World Wide Web, currently ruled by it's undisputed queen, Lady Gaga. The scary part is that all of this is probably just a virtual portrait of the real world of today, where Pop Stars and Supermodel reality shows are helping to create new values and a wannabe society. And the Web is not just a victim of this trend anymore, it became an active player helping to promote this new and strange culture.
All of this saddens me a bit, and this is my puny effort to change this trend. Or maybe I'm just getting old.