2006 was the year user-generated viral video content became a trendsetter for pop culture.
It's an On Demand digital world and we're living in it with gusto. This "crazy" year was about small audiences creating massive buzz.
All year long, the Jointblog has been tracking and watching media trends as they happened. What did we see?
Among the top themes:
Radio was everywhere but not on your typical device. Old radio, new radio...it created a lot of pondering and overall listening. Yet radio seemed to grow tired of being so public (or serving Wall Street demands).
Howard Stern's move to Sirius drove millions to search for him online once he disappeared from traditional radio, messing up morning radio listening habits. He pimped on Letterman while getting finger wagged by CBS Radio, Rolling Stone and analysts.
Stern's first traditional radio replacement sucked, creating car wreck radio. Former outcasts replaced the replacement.
Air America said it was "business as usual". It wasn't.
The White House also said they were making progress in Iraq. 3,000 U.S. soldiers and 158 journalists covering the war might disagree...if they could. But they can't...since they're dead.
The World Wide Web turned 15...but the net's neutrality was endangered as Congress debated it.
The definition of TV permanently changed. User-generated content was often better to watch. So was Lazy Sunday on YouTube.
Not all viral videos worked...just ask Chevy about their Tahoe effort.
Yes, YouTube became America's favorite water cooler place online to watch Zidane's World Cup head butt, the Hoff's latest music video or Michael J. Fox's political message.
This got Google's attention...so they bought YouTube.
Of course, Faith Hill probably didn't like YouTube's honesty. And Michael Richards wished cellphones didn't have cameras while Britney wished she remembered her panties.
"Truthiness": Word of the Year plus A Vote For Word of the Decade as fake news was the buzz. Update your dictionaries.
In a related ColbertNation story, Stephen Colbert made George Bush frown.
Bill Clinton gave FoxNews a few choice words, helping turn election momentum and reminding Democrats how to get it done in front of a camera.
A tipping point was reached with "The Long Tail".
Women drove social networking website growth due to their Internet preference to form communities (men just like the experience -- watch porn). Meanwhile, MySpace became more than just a teen hangout; Baby Boomers liked it, too. Or they just formed their own version.
You don't piss off Oprah.
But you do idolize American Idol.
Google went on a buying spree, aiming to Googlize old media advertising. And search marketing remained a hot media trend all year.
Big Media was scared as it kept losing control.
Ringtone sales were off the hook.
Scarlett Johansson made HDTV look real good on The Tonight Show while Borat gave high fives everywhere.
The world's top brand name -- Apple -- made some great TV ads and was the key starting the viral video engine...while, at the same time iTunes reaching its one billionth download (Coldplay's "Speed of Sound") (now at 2 billion and still growing strong, contrary to false reports elsewhere). On-going Apple success spurred mainstream media attempts at podcasting.
But so can you.
Snarky humor was the rule if you wanted a blog hit. However, 50% of blogs die within 3 months. Still, the blogosphere doubles in size every 6 months.
MTV turned 25. How'd they celebrate? By firing one of its founders.
Traditional radio tried to ward off iPod (more popular than beer, by the way) and Internet radio users with HD Radio...with very slow results and few listeners. At the same time, radio did try to fight back against the FCC's indecency movement.
Google denied the government's request for search data...while AOL got in trouble for accidently releasing user's search data.
Identify fraud rose...while hypocrites like Mark Foley and other got caught as teens put themselves at risk online.
Product placement advertising made a serious move online as strong content mattered. Meanwhile, old media complained online search engines steal content.
Radio still couldn't find consensus for electronic people-metered ratings. Cellphone, Apollo Project, Arbitron or Other? Or ever?
Oh, a Desperate Housewife was visible from space, thanks to Google Earth.
The Jointblog's #1 article drawing in readers from organic search results? "Katie Couric's legs are apparently searchable and newsworthy"...and they were, even if she didn't like it. At least she broke a glass ceiling anchoring the CBS evening news.
You are the Person of the Year. Keep the net neutral.
Goodbye 2006, it was nuckin' futs. Hello 2 double oh 7.
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Sunday, December 31, 2006,