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Tuesday, May 28
The Indiana Daily Student

Mass appeal

It’s a crowded world for those of us in the media nowadays. Thanks to cheap, powerful digital technology, the Internet and sites like YouTube and MySpace, any wannabe director or rock star can make their work available for the world to see. And this goes doubly for those of us in print – word processing software is so easy to use, blogs are so cheap to maintain, our work is so easy for people to reproduce. Not that I’m complaining – but it does mean to get noticed, one has to adapt.\nThere are a couple of strategies to finding success in a packed media environment. One is to find a niche. Appeal to a narrow group of devotees and make yourself their go-to source. That’s well and good, but there are so many niches out there already. What if all you can do is cater to the subgroup of a subgroup? The other is the approach more often followed by mass-media outlets such as network TV, Hollywood studios and the “big four” major record labels – appeal to the lowest common denominator. \nThus, as an experiment and a ploy to steal the vast plurality of eyes away from my fellow columnists, today’s column is about four things: beer, basketball, sex and Facebook.\nFor starters, what might Anna Nicole Smith have thought about beer, basketball, sex and Facebook? I know, I know, sad she’s dead, yeah, yeah – but what do you think she might have thought about them? Presumably, she was in favor of sex. But what about the others? Unfortunately, after briefly summarizing her career, the biography on her Web site concludes with “There’s so much more, but bios are boring and I don’t feel like writing any more” before these burning issues are ever addressed. I’m afraid we’ll have to speculate. Having been born in Texas, I’m guessing she was more into football – but that could also mean a positive disposition toward beer. On Facebook I can find nothing, but given her numerous profiles on MySpace, I suspect she might’ve liked it. (Whadda you mean those profiles might not be hers?)\nAnd do you think the folks on “American Idol” like beer, basketball, sex and Facebook? I bet Ryan Seacrest enjoys a beer on occasion, although he might currently be contractually obligated to prefer Coca-Cola. And Paula Abdul was a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers, right? So that’s basketball represented. Sex? I doubt anyone involved with “American Idol” ever has anything to do with sex – just look at how far Clay Aiken got. Facebook? Given all the hits “American Idol” gets in a search of the Indiana network, I bet they’d like it – although the embedded music player, unspeakable garishness and rank commercialism of MySpace might be a better fit.\nAnd what might President Bush think of beer, basketball, sex and Facebook? Oh wait, that’s politics and I’m starting to lose you. Sorry, please come back!

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