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How is the Internet Changing Magicians?

Pre-internet, if someone wanted to learn a magic trick they would hunt down an old book or ask uncle Bob to teach the card trick he always does at family gatherings.

Now, however, both the learning and performing of magic tricks has been dramatically changed due to video hosting and streaming sites. Scarcity is not the dominant obstacle in the pursuit of deceptive knowledge; rather it is the reverse: there are so many tutorials online that finding a trick which is both good and taught well is like playing ‘Where’s Waldo’ x 100. Do these sites also remove the motivation for magician’s to sell their original material online if it will only be pirated or taught for free on YouTube? Furthermore, if anyone can search the secret to a trick immediately after seeing it performed, what point is there for the magician to perform at all?

This impact would be most interesting to explore.

  • I'm not sure if this is helpful since it's anecdotal, but my great-grandmother would read tarot, except through interpreting normal playing cards, while I learned most of what I know online. The internet not only makes knowledge access easier, but a magician can get paid for demonstrations and tutorials presented to a worldwide audience, not just their town. The differing generational techniques because of evolving technology are intriguing to study, and very relatable to other advancements, such as the invention of the radio introducing people to music outside their regional traditions. But as you said, the counterpoint to accessibility is that what seems secret and reserved becomes less so, and this can disrupt the novelty for some. With magicians, knowing the intricacies may make it seem less mystical, although this also means others can participate and learn perhaps more quickly. – Emily Deibler 5 years ago
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  • Like Gob Bluth said (of his favorite magic magazine?), "I should've been in that Poof." – Tigey 5 years ago
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