1997: "The press only knows three stories, Apple is dead, Microsoft is evil, and Java is the future." In 2020, Apple is alive, no one worries about Microsoft's character, and Java is no longer the future. #
But Facebook? According to journalism, Facebook is a bad place. Facebook is a place you don't want to go. Reality is as the great Yogi Berra said: "No one goes there anymore, it's too crowded." That's Facebook. It isn't any one thing, it's everything. #
The scale of Facebook is hard to imagine. To say Facebook is like a low-life bar (something one of my correspondents on Twitter said) would be like saying NYC is a low-life bar. Ridiculous. NYC has 8.6 million people. It has art museums, libraries, great restaurants, office buildings, millions of homes and families to go with them. Two baseball stadiums. Two airports. Dozens of schools and universities. It's a big place but Facebook is much much much bigger. Let's say Facebook has a billion users. That means it's 125 times the size of NYC. The people who go to Facebook are not low-lifers, they're your friends and family, colleagues, classmates, people in power, retired people, rich and poor, from every continent. What is happening on Facebook? Does anyone have the slightest idea? Even the Facebook company probably only has a very aggregated view of what goes on there. #
I have a hunch that Facebook is where journalism is rebooting. I know we're supposed to scoff at the idea of people doing it for themselves, helping each other get the info they need, but if there's going to be a local news desert, something has to fill the gap. Just because professional journalism is leaving localities (which includes non-geographic locales like industries and professions), does that mean we must live without journalism? I think not. We need journalism, and we'll have it, imho.#
Professional journalism does not respect online. Look at Farhad Manjoo's latest. What a trip. Some of my friends in Woodstock don't use Facebook for the reasons he outlines. Why? Because they heard it from him, or another NYT reporter or columnist, and believed it. My friends didn't find this out themselves, because if they looked, asked for pointers from friends (for example me), they would have found their people there. If they hang out with evil people, that's probably what they'd find. Or if they live with aging hippies (as in the place I live now) then that's what they'd find. Billions of people can't all be as bad and stupid as a columnist in the NYT says they are. And remember that Manjoo has reasons to want you not to like Facebook. His salary depends on it. 😄#
Last update: Wednesday January 8, 2020; 2:07 PM EST.
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