Saturday, February 28, 2009

Imogen and Web 2.0

A long awaited album entitled Polyfilla is almost finished for Imogen Heap. Thank goodness she is active and sharing eye candy and other tunes such as

Blanket (with Urban Species)

One gets the feeling in the undercurrents in her Web 2.0 submissions on blog, twitter, myspace, facebook, twitpix, 12seconds and so much more that she thrives on the slightly more than tenuous connection and interaction with her fans. For us it is a LOT better than a quick autograph from a sweaty hand, tired from the act, only wanting to escape our clutches unscathed. She has volunteered all of this surely for her own motives. But so what? It serves some of our needs. That is the give and take. It is interactive to the extent they wish it to be.

The clear message in the sharing with her followers is that she derives not only pleasure or amusement, but some kind of connection of her psyche to those who interact and follow. Without the pain of supporting the demands and needs of a lover or demands for time from a friend or acquaintance, this large collection of other psyche's constitutes a sort of muse or maybe just a release valve; helpful in either case it seems.

She is not the only artist, writer, actor, politician or just good old public figure to find this an inspirational or emotionally helpful interaction. Stephen Fry, Neal Gaiman, and even Jane Fonda all seem to derive exactly the same thing from twitter. All of them using the laptops or smartphones can twitter, blog, and share pictures with all who follow them minute by minute, blow by blow.

This connection, as tenuous as it is, is like the torrent going over Niagara Falls in comparison to the silent unheard voices of what surely used to be their isolation inside their circle of handlers or neurotic needy friends and associates. They seemingly do it because they appear to derive something they need from it and further, they personally control the level and degree without a NO NO NO publicity agent, lawyer, company, their phobias or neuroses, etc. meddling with their heads and needs.

We have watched Stephen Fry twitter his way to great acclaim in several venues, lose weight, and become 10 years younger before our eyes. Neil Gaiman shares freely in his achievements, one after another, and his family life with his daughter, loyal assistant and even all the way down to the sufferings and redemption of his own favorite white German shepherd. Gaiman feeds our voyeuristic cravings for the tidbits of our idols and in return, gets one of the greatest of marketing tools ever. He uses it as such with a true sense of decorum by twittering, blogging and more, aided by the word of mouth of fan boys like me Have you seen what is going on with Gaiman?" Their exhibitionism and our voyeurism, sanitized with these tools, like a condom if you will giving excellent safe fan-dom, allows us to share in their blow by blow to fulfill our needs. In turn, we derive entertainment, information, inspiration, or something else entirely as needed. We shower them with praise, sympathy, adoration, disgust, whatever ... to our hearts content, so long as it is 140 characters or less! No long winded, uncontrolled, fan girl squealing in their ears and seeping gushing noxious fumes of suffocating fandom tinged with jealousy.

If it all becomes too much or they lose focus, the Imogen solution is a simple click away: "Sorting out video/ live/ budgets/ schedule/ meetings...shite! I haven't finished it yet! Need to refocus, shut it out and make music today." After feeding the battery, it is charged and can be put to use off the mains without connection to the fuel the masses have been providing until it is time for recharging again.

Watch this and see the creation process in action on Polyfilla.

This sharing and the feedback which follows in other media mentioned mitigate in favor of the premise put forward here quite clearly. Then it dawns on you, this is just one artist (as fabulous as she is). Then you remember that even septuagenarian actresses are doing the Web 2.0 dance. Sharing with us their illnesses, joys, glee at those other famous friends attending her new play . Hmm. This is getting interesting. So..... What about ..... so and so? Hit Google and find them. Search for them on twitter, facebook, myspace, or whatever. It is a revolution and a great one. But wait, I am doing it here (not that many care but it is fun)!

Web 2.0 is the potential of the internet finally beginning to reveal itself in a glorious way. It is oh so much better than television because it is interactive to a much greater degree. It is not (yet?) quite as satisfying as feeling the insides of Raskolnikov or Humbert Humbert rot before you in your mind's eye. And it certainly is not based on decades of writing, no, struggling whilst neglecting Nora and the kids, just so Bloom can live a single day in our imagination for the rest of our lives. You don't need to read well, have a great vocabulary, or even just the time to read the novel .... but it is fascinating, entertaining. It is getting there.

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