Saturday, December 29, 2007

People's obsessions

I do love the way the internet allows people to indulge their personal passions and obsessions, for all to see. I'm not talking about anything sleazy here, but the way people's personal interests or hobbies that may have been hidden away before are now given full rein and public exposure. I've been struck recently by how much time and loving care must be lavished by people on creating material for their own pleasure, for YouTube videos, websites or blogs. I probably ought to find some examples, but can't think of any at present...

I was poking about yesterday on YouTube on a personal musical nostalgia trip of bands I'd seen or wished I'd seen, or any old stuff really. Major procrastination on my part probably... One user had loads of David Cassidy videos, clips from the Partridge Family TV show, as well as her own slideshows with musical accompaniment. I was thinking that a longstanding fan like her must have previously had collections of photos or memorabilia hidden away in boxes, magazines or scrapbooks, plus a collection of albums, on vinyl or CD, though nobody would know she had it. Now it's all reusable in a different form and made accessible to many more interested people. Even collections of 3D objects can be used for something.

I don't know why, but I find the idea of people feverishly slogging away at their computers on their pet projects quite endearing. I like the way so much effort must have been spent creating sites and videos for a presumably quite specialist audience- it must take ages to transfer old VHS clips to a YouTube-friendly format, but I'm glad people do, as it's nice to be able to share old footage with other enthusiasts, and they probably have a better knowledge and attention to detail than many 'official' sites. 'Fan-dom' seems quite obsessive sometimes, though probably harmless in the wider scheme of things.

I suppose it's stating the obvious really, but the growth of the internet and all its related digital bits must have taken private collections and interests to another level that wouldn't have existed before the technology and 'user generated content' became easily mastered. It lets one indulge one's inner anorak tendencies, as you're no longer alone in your obscure passion. I half wish I had an obsession that would drive me to create some new web-based thing, but I don't. I like other people's strangely diverse enthusiasms though.


Roses said...

Well, I started blogging on my obsession with bus journeys and look what happened then!

Claire said...

Yes, I had a look at some of your early ones after you said that- it's interesting to see how blogs develop. I often look at people's first posts, then their stuff a year on, to see how they've changed (or not). I suppose everyone's blogs are personal journeys, if they keep going.

Reminds me a bit of looking through student's sketchbooks for a particular project, to see the initial ideas, then how they develop.

Hotter Than... said...

It's interesting that you talk about "collections" - that's our college project at the moment. As you say, it's the development that's fascinating. I felt an inital panic when we were handed the brief because I don't really collect things but after chatting to my tutor about natural form which I'm interested in, decided to look at leaves. This has subsequently moved into natural movement and cycles.

It's just amazing - things that capture someone's interest and how that travels

Claire said...

That project sounded great, from your post - lovely possibilities. A ceramics tutor does work with leaves and natural forms, I think he crosses over into science. I'll see what he's done in case it's interesting to you.

I've become quite interested in music memorabilia and fans who collect stuff. I was trying to work out what my limits were, when I start thinking it's getting too weird, obsessive or hideously designed, etc and why I think it. I can relate to music-related things more than other types of collecting, I guess.