Arianna Huffington is one of those gifted people who have a natural personal warmth that makes you feel like you're her best friend, even if you just met her. It's something a lot of successful people have. Combined with her ability to see through lies, and a willingness to speak her mind honestly, she's one of the most powerful people of our generation.
David Carr, media columnist for the NY Times has a different kind of charm. He speaks in clever ironies, and obviously has a great intellect and has had a tough life, so his jokes have the depth of personal experience.
It's funny how sometimes stories come in pairs and relate to each other in interesting ways. Carr has a column in today's Times about what I call corporate blogging silos and how the people who make them work, the writers, are uncompensated while the founders (sometimes) get rich. This comes up as an issue when the people working in what I call hamster cages learn how much their work is worth, to the people who own the cages. In the story Carr tells, the owner is the charming Arianna Huffington!
Meanwhile, Mathew Ingram, writing on GigaOm has observed that both Twitter and Facebook now get that "social news" is the next big thing. Heeere we go. If they wrap up news on the Internet we, who value the truth, are in a lot of trouble. We'll do much better if there are a million personal blogging silos instead of one or two huge corporate blogging silos. The corporate ones are too easy for governments to control without the people knowing they're being controlled. In the case of Twitter, the freedom-loving founders will eventually leave, and the new management will likely care more about return on investment than All The News That's Fit To Tweet. And Facebook has never been about freedom. They desperately want to get into China, as does Google (again) and that's going to involve compromise, at least on behalf of the Chinese populace. What they learn about control can and probably already is being applied around the world, including the US.
I think both Arianna Huffington and David Carr mean well. I don't think, net-net, the tech companies do. At least our version of "means well." My message is this -- it will be way too late to undo the damage once Twitter and Facebook have it locked up. And judging from Ingram's point of view, and Ingram is an honest guy -- they almost have it wrapped up. I'm not sure I agree, but Ingram's point of view is itself important data.