Hollywood-think is constantly making incursions into the computer world, with the underlying message that entertainment is the future of the Internet.
I've heard this argument about the Net since its inception, and before that, I heard it about computers.
Entertainment has always been integral to the computer business. Games are the best examples, but now we have music, video, and endless Web sites that are entertaining.
Playing around with the computer itself is entertaining. Have you ever sat down with a document and amused yourself changing fonts? That's entertainment, too.
Let's face it. People could find a way to amuse themselves digging a ditch. That can also be entertainment.
It dawned on me recently that the computer is nothing but entertainment. So why the emphasis on what's officially regarded as "entertainment"?
This is epitomized by the antics of Terry Semel, the just-deposed CEO of Yahoo! who promised to bring entertainment to the scene.
What scene? Yahoo! already has all the entertainment you'd ever want.
It's not about the entertainment. It's about Hollywood. It's about a segment of the entertainment landscape — the so-called "entertainment industry."
Computer makers are not in that industry, although the devices are infinitely entertaining. The "entertainment industry" is show business — the old-fashioned TV networks, decrepit movie studios, concert promoters and Broadway.
This narrow group does not include new entertainment in any way. New entertainment is not show business.
I have nothing against show business, but show business does not have a lock on either entertainment or the definition of entertainment. It's a huge mistake to think that it does.
So it's no surprise that Yahoo!, under the leadership of a Hollywood entertainment guy, has lost ground to everyone and everything with wrong-headed thinking.
The irony of this situation is that Yahoo! began as a community-centric directory that involved users in its evolution as a fine search engine.
Yahoo! was built on bottom-up thinking, which is more important in the Web 2.0 era than ever. But it gave up on that kind of thinking so that it could align itself with Hollywood and be more entertaining.
News flash: People are entertained by community activity.
Actually, when show business people talk about entertainment and the Web, or entertainment and computer,s it's just a smokescreen for their efforts to funnel more money into Hollywood's coffers, specifically the coffers of the movie and music industries.
If nothing else, these guys are good at sucking up as much money as possible while crying poverty about losses from piracy and writers' strikes.
Last year, Semel made over $70 million. What starstruck board of directors rationalizes that sort of income year after year with no results? But I digress.
I have the newest Dish Network gear, which has added the old Voom HD network to its offerings. What do I watch the most? The Gallery Network. This is essentially Art History 24/7. It seems dry to some family members, but it is incredibly interesting and entertaining to me.
To further the business goals of the "entertainment industry," the promoters have created a cult of celebrity around the participants in the movie business to cement the public's opinion that these people are more important than, say, novelists or game designers.
Their complex marketing machine grinds away, and the public is made to believe that Hollywood is the center of the entertainment universe.
So what's my point? It goes back to something I heard about a computer executive several years back when he wanted to get into consumer electronics.
He was told to check the mirror, because he was already in that business. The computer is the most successful consumer electronics device since the TV.
So, too, with entertainment. Yahoo! and other tech companies are easily buffaloed into not realizing that they are deep in the entertainment business already.
They are told by the marketing machine that they are not entertainment in any way, because they are not doing Hollywood's bidding.
What a joke.
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