What happens when it’s all on tape?

It’s been twelve years since the videotaped beating of Rodney King started a riot in LA. Rodney King and the Los Angeles Riots.

In that time, the percentage of people with a video camera at home has increased dramatically. And the number of streetcorners and businesses that tape everything has gone way up as well. Steve Rosenbaum is trying to use that fact to change the way media is created: CAMERAPLANET

Odd segue: Today, in anticipation of a dinner party, I stopped at a lobster seller in Chelsea Market in NYC. I asked for a six pound lobster. The pricing at the store is $9.95 a pound for small lobsters and $8.95 a pound for lobsters six pounds and up.

The lobster weighed (I’m not making this up), 5.97 pounds. For reference, that’s just less than a pound by the weight of a penny. Feed the lobster a plankton and it would be six pounds.

He started to ring me up at $9.95 a pound. I pointed out the price breakdown and the guy shrugged and said, “It doesn’t weight six pounds.”

Two co-workers came over and with precisely the same uncomprehending grin, repeated his point. I added a penny to the scale but they weren’t swayed.

So, the two questions are, “Do you think the owner wanted them to act this way?” and “Would they have acted differently if they were on camera?”

I believe that the best motivation is self-motivation. That teaching people the right thing to do is far more effective than intimidating them into acting out of fear.

But I also know that people act differently when they think no one is watching.

I’ve been counting more and more mail from enraged customers (thanks, but I have enough!). These are people who feel outrage when they are deliberately mistreated by someone who should know better.

As the number of “owners” goes down (because the big chain outlets, telecom oligopolies and centrally controlled media keep increasing in number), it’s harder to find people who act the way we might like.

I wonder what happens once it’s on tape?

All as a way of asking you to bring your videocamera with you when you go to vote on Tuesday (regardless of which side you’re on). The biggest impact of the Net on this election, it seems to me, is that so many things are “on tape.” So many people are now embedded in the process that the process has changed forever.

Maybe if we all show up with a videocamera, other people will be reminded to act like citizens. Worth a shot.