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People often forget that at the beginning none of the current giants were "mainstream", in fact what made them attractive was the fact that they had a unique audience that formed a strong community amongst each other.

The idea of "mainstream" is dying, and will continue to do so. What we're seeing is a deep cultural fracture where communities, ideas, and people do not form the kind of stardom or centralized propagation of ideas that the previous decades were known by. As production gets cheaper, and getting an audience becomes easier, people will begin to form seamless self-sustained communities that support each other (think patreon).

If video killed the radio star, then the internet killed the star, and fractured it into infinite pieces.




I'm a daily user of Mastadon. But... People were saying this on newsgroups and gopher, then on message boards, then about Friendster and all of the social platforms that followed. If the platform becomes popular enough to reach some sort of critical mass, then that mass will drag along all of the Facebook/Twitter/Instagram stardom with it. Some people actually like their celebrities and they expect to see those celebrities on their platform of choice. And, inevitably, the marketers will follow.


Yah. Some people like their celebrities, however those celebrities are also now facing competition by other stars which have far greater community outreach, and influence.

Who do the kids of today look up to? Those are your next celebrities.


I'm afraid that's "youtubers". Both big international ones like Pewdiepie, as well as more local (national) ones.

Many of these youtubers are actually somewhat surprised about the size of their following and the fact they can actually make a living with the profits from their channel.

I'm not sure if there's any other place besides youtube where they can monetize their channel in such a successful fashion. They don't really talk about how much one earns as a youtuber, and I suppose it varies wildly. But otherwise, they're not really tied to their channel, just tell the fans where you're heading and they follow.


You read it here.

It's hard to see how this is the future without experiencing it in some way personally.

Facebook Groups connected me with fans of a particular kind of fringe art about 4 years ago and made leaving Facebook really difficult. This might seem exceedingly anecdotal, and I get that, but you have to realize that, before Facebook, it would have been impossible for any of us to even know this interest existed; much less that there were others also into it. Nothing in the cultural canon quite sufficed, although some trends in music and literature had come close, none of them quite articulated the thing. Finding the thing was a necessary part of a certain stage of my life, and gave me a psychological grounding that something mainstream might never could have. I think admitting so actually devalues the spectacle in question, but I can't deny it. There was a value in the fact that this small group of people spoke this unique language. We became something like a tribe.

Attention economics are strange and only beginning to define our lives. Younger people will depend on fringe engagements to achieve a sense of self-identity that used to be a given. Life experience is going to take a new shape accordingly.

I think early evidence of this is in music scenes, which is haphazardly often the case with forms of sociocultural influence. No conventional wisdom can explain the proliferation of indie music and things like tape labels but these things are massive forces. They just genuinely don't care what you think. They have an audience and it's up to you to be a part.

Mastadon is strangely ahead of the curve and probably doing a poor job of meeting in the middle. I think it would benefit from shoving everyone into Mastadon.social at signup and letting them learn about instances from there. Finding a home is too difficult as it is. But, eventually, it does look like the future.


Why did the other reply to this get killed after only having been posted for eight minutes? Seems inoffensive and like perfectly valid discussion from where I'm standing.

Is drawing attention to the "attention economy" taboo here?


Users flagged it (I'm not sure why) and then the author reposted it using a different account. Normally we would unkill such a comment when we review the flags, since I didn't notice anything flaggable about it either, but we're not going to do that when there's a duplicate.

Here's a tip: general explanations like 'is drawing attention to the "attention economy" taboo here' are basically never the answer. It's almost always something much more mundane. You could also know the answer to your question by using HN search to find any of countless threads that discuss these questions extensively. Even "attention economy", though that isn't one of the more common phrases, shows up quite a bit: https://hn.algolia.com/?query=%22attention%20economy%22&sort....


just thought it strange since I often read HN comments when an article is just posted and rarely see longish, wholly inoffensive comments such as the one in question here get downvoted to [dead] within eight minutes; usually that's reserved for politics etc.


I have the options to see dead/flagged posts enabled and don't see anything, what do you mean?


So do I, the post has since been un-[dead]'d, which is why there's seemingly two duplicate comments now. It was really shocking to see the comment become [dead] within EIGHT MINUTES of having been posted.




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