As Dan Hill noted in a much-cited online essay, “Why Lost Is Genuinely New Media,” the viewers of that show weren’t just viewers—they collaboratively created a compendium of material related to that show called (what else?) Lostpedia.
As Berstell and his colleagues noted in “Finding the Right Job for Your Product,” their essay in the Harvard Business Review, the key to understanding what was going on was to stop viewing the product in isolation and to give up traditional notions of the morning meal. Berstell instead focused on a single, simple question: “What job is a customer hiring that milkshake to do at eight A.M.?”
Dave Hickey, the iconoclastic art historian and cultural critic, wrote an essay in 1997 called “Romancing the Looky-Loos,” in which he talked about the varieties of audiences for music. The title of the essay comes from hearing his father, a musician, describe a particular audience as looky-loos, people there only to consume. To be a looky-loo is to approach an event, especially a live event, as if you were mindlessly watching it on TV: “They paid their dollar at the door, but they contributed nothing to the occasion—afforded no confirmation or denial that you could work with or around...
The old view of online as a separate space, cyberspace, apart from the real world, was an accident of history. Back when the online population was tiny, most of the people you knew in your daily life weren’t part of that population. Now that computers and increasingly computerlike phones have been broadly adopted, the