When I put together my Five Minute Matrix, I was expecting perhaps a fair amount of traffic to my site, or at least to the Internet Archive where it is hosted. This ended up not being the case, which is a mixed blessing.
Today, almost two months later, I went off looking for links back to my post, and I stumbled across several video aggregation sites hosting the “Five-Minute Matrix”. Problem is, it is not the original video I created, but a low quality low fps flash file. That’s right, flash, Macromedia’s proprietary format. I hate flash, with a passion. Not only is the quality of the new file bad, but the post on a site called IFILM (which I refuse to link to) includes the following drivel:
The best parts of The Matrix are boiled down to one easy-to-digest 5-minute highlight reel.
Aside from the fact that it is not a highlight reel (it is a summary of the key plot points), it makes no reference to the original video, no reference to my site which includes the plot breakdown (which I thought would be interesting for fans of The Matrix), no longer contains my Creative Commons licensing wrapper, and does not make any reference to who converted it or even uploaded it their site.
An additional problem is that as a standalone video, it is in breach of the copyright of the original The Matrix film. Only in context with my original educational post, is it arguably legal.
However the interesting part, and the point of this post, is that this identifies yet again the problem with aggregated microcontent on the Internet. While both the textual plot summary and the video may be viewed separately, it is only together do they form the original post. Text and video microcontent, aggregated via hyperlinks to form a single entity.
Unfortunately, search engines, and the vast number of video aggregators now popping up, care not about context or the construction of content from microcontent, but simply suck up bits of text and media and dump them into a single almost useless voluminous repository.
So why would someone convert my QuickTime file to flash, and not include some reference to my original textual post? Ignorance and apathy. Welcome to the Internet.
Suffice to say, the upload to IFILM has had almost 10,000 views, whereas my original has only had 300. Distribution. Go figure.
Which brings me to IFILM. Now owned by MTV, the site refuses to let me add a comment to the converted video, unless I sign up as a user, which I will not do. Also, any searches in Google for IFILM videos, will not actually cache in google, due to their advertising. Search for five minute matrix and click on the Cached link for the result from IFILM, and you’ll end up in an infinite loop of redirects. Talk about bad design. And of course you’ll notice that the IFILM version is now the top search result as well.
IFILM and sites of their ilk, are not only making organising structured content on the Internet difficult, but are actually causing much of the problems to begin with, by not providing a way to link text, video and other content together, or by not policing or designing a UI which makes it easier to do so. You gotta love mass consumption of and for the lowest common denominator. Something I had hoped would distinguish the Internet from traditional old style media like television.