Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Johnny Carson's Legacy --- and the Scan?

The other night I watched Jay Leno’s hour-long tribute to Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. About ¾ of the way through the show, Drew Carey leaned over to Leno and said, “Y’know, when you die, they aren’t going to do this for you.” Leno and the audience roared. But Drew was right.* And the reason he was right actually has something to do with the Scan.

Johnny Carson was one of the last stars of old-fashioned, network-driven broadcast television. His show was a triumph of mass entertainment in an era when popular culture was largely driven by NBC, CBS, and ABC. He came on the air before videotape replaced live broadcasting, and he left the air just before the Mosaic browser was introduced. In the years since he retired, the number of choices people have for late night entertainment has mushroomed, with everything from cable networks to pay-per-view to surfing the web to massively multiplayer online games available. The successful options are the ones that find a target audience and do a good job serving them.

Libraries have tried for many years to be all things to all people. We were loath to aim at target audiences or create niche services (although frequently what we thought of as a service that was open to all was used by only a few). We were slow to recognize the various competitors we faced. In the Scan we talk about the need to look at nontraditional content, to accommodate our users, to address new audiences with new staff, all things that the commercial broadcast networks have had to learn to do in order to compete in their new environment.

The major networks have all made real changes to try to stay viable in this environment. The Scan is about how we can do that in the library world.

_______________________________________________
* For some reason, I’ve always felt a kinship with Drew Carey. Fat guy, glasses (then Lasik), bad hair, class clown, got his start in a library…don't know why I'd feel a kinship with him!

6 comments:

Alane said...

George, you don't wear glasses anymore, you lost a lot of weight and, um, hair (but you care more about that than we do) but you're still the class clown. And you know what? Being funny is WAY more valued than any of those other ones. At least among people of discerning tastes.
Serious note: absolutely agree with not trying to be all things to all people. Who are "all people" anyway?

Alane said...

George, you don't wear glasses anymore, you lost a lot of weight and, um, hair (but you care more about that than we do) but you're still the class clown. And you know what? Being funny is WAY more valued than any of those other ones. At least among people of discerning tastes.
Serious note: absolutely agree with not trying to be all things to all people. Who are "all people" anyway?

Can said...

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ruhan said...

Thanks for this informations.(escuseme my english is bad.

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ruhan said...

thanks all info


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