Worth a read - from today's New Republic
Interesting read

Culture and currency

In a post last week, I looked at why media organizations, unlike Madison Avenue, have been able to really exploit the power of digital technology, suggesting it's easier to use to generate content than money. Well, that's true, unless you consider money content. Above is a nice little video from the Wall Street Journal about emerging forms of money, with sub-cultures creating their own digital currencies.

Watch it, as it's fun. It also reminds me of something else in last week's post, namely the digital game "Beatle's Rock Band." Yesterday, WBUR Radio's OnPoint had a great show on the audience for this entertainment. A few musicians called in to the program, some testifying that playing the game at home with friends and family was as, if not more, satisfying than playing for actual audiences.

Like the video above, the program is provocative. In this case it provoked thoughts about alternative economies. Digital entertainment like Second Life in the past have generated such economies. And their own currencies. What makes Rock Band more impressive is its real world component, namely having aspects that live in the real and virtual world. Imagine all the people... (no pun intended) sharing this game and then going out to create something musical in the real world.

All to say that the different forms of performance, content, and ideas will themselves, in turn, generate new types of sharing. And markets. I guess all I'm saying is this idea of new currencies tied to new forms of culture isn't an abstraction. It's happening. And within mainstream American living rooms of folks playing in it.


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