Showing posts from February, 2020

The Decline of Popular Culture

The information revolution has been going on since the invention of the printing press, or maybe even earlier, but we didn’t reach information abundance until the 2010s. The internet, smart phones and social media were all contributing factors. Those technologies not only enabled a greater consumption of information, they also enabled everyone to produce and distribute information. This has profoundly affected our culture. To understand how things are changing, we need to understand what existed before. From the 1920s until about 2010, our culture was dominated by mass media. Mass media (I’ll treat it as a singular noun) is the production and distribution of information for mass consumption. Mass communication technologies include newspapers, books, radio, TV and movies. Those technologies send a small amount of information to a large audience. What we think of as “popular culture” was created by mass media. Mass media has a distribution bottleneck. Airtime on TV or radio was a