In her book Magic & Loss: The Internet as Art, Virginia Heffernan argues that in the 20th century storytellers, people who created things like books, songs, and films, were the creators, and they sold their creativity to an audience. But in the 21st century Heffernan believes that it is the platform developers, like YouTube founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen & Jawed Karim, who are the creators, and that storytellers are the new consumers. We pay to tell our stories through bandwidth charges, subscription fees, device purchases, advertising, and data mining.
When Burger King releases a new food mashup like Mac ‘n Cheetos which they released last week, the infinite channels of YouTube light up. Who are the “creators” here? The faceless evil geniuses in the Burger King kitchens? Platform founders like Hurley, Chen & Karim? The many YouTubers who immediately drive to their nearest BK drive-thru to experience and review the (possibly) radioactive mashup? Or is it a 21st century mashup of all of the above? Here are some samples: