I have often wondered what I used to spend my days doing before the internet and social networking sites emerged. It just hit me; I watched MTV, of course! Times have changed so much that I can barely remember. While it's true that I still see videos thanks to the internet, it's just not the same. It's almost as if internet killed the video star.
MTV was the epitome of cool, back in the day. Antics of Veejays such as Kennedy, Adam Curry, Downtown Julie Brown, Martha Quinn, and (the other) Julie Brown were a part of the whole MTV experience. They personified cool. I could only hope and pray to someday reach their level of coolness. They each presented the videos to us in their own unique ways.
The new era of social networking is probably a little more productive than just vegging out, watching videos (not much, though). I remember when MTV was music television, when they actually played music, instead of asinine reality shows.
I was dubious when they started airing The Real World in 1993. Otherwise, though, they were true to their name as an all music station. Little did we know that this programming ploy would be the catalyst for a whole new future MTV generation. It would forever change music television as we knew it. Soon, Real World shows were sprouting up in every major city, slyly edging out music television. It was gone before we knew what hit us.
According to NPR, MTV's modus operandi is to completely change formats every 4 years, or every high school term. This allows it to keep current, allowing for a new generation of cool, thus pissing off a previous generation. (This would seem to be a smashing success. I can testify that I, as well all of the other Gen X-ers I know are sufficiently pissed off).
They were always cutting edge, but always seemed true to themselves as Music Television; even with shows like Remote Control. And, we do tend to forget that MTV has always embraced pop culture, which is not just limited to music. Image is just as important, if not more, than music is. In 1992, they held their first Town Hall meeting where, then presidential candidate, Bill Clinton campaigned on MTV, and then as president, in 1994 he came on, answering the infamous question “boxers or briefs?” I didn't particularly feel that this was out of line with their format, but I'm sure some did.
Patrick Goldstein of the LA Times says that there is nothing in America more influential than MTV.
The station shapes trends in the three most important areas of the average teenager's life; music, movies, and fashion. He reiterates the importance of staying current. But reality shows are neither current nor are they music.
Is this really what the Gen. Nexters groove on? Apparently not, say the ratings, which seem to be steadily declining. It is cheaper, though. MTV's response to last year's low ratings, was to foist a different lineup of the same sort of reality shows upon us. It seems this is more a case of the wallet speaking the louder than the ratings, which means that the station has lost much of it's coolness. Or perhaps they are too cool to pay attention to ratings.