Fast forward to last week, when the New York Times ran a news article on Facebook. It seems that, according to Virginia Heffernan, Facebook is dying:
Facebook, the online social grid, could not command loyalty forever. If you ask around, as I did, you’ll find quitters. One person shut down her account because she disliked how nosy it made her. Another thought the scene had turned desperate. A third feared stalkers. A fourth believed his privacy was compromised. A fifth disappeared without a word.The article cites a few people who say they left Facebook, some hilariously claiming it was as bad as North Korea. Most of them are revealed to be... Ms Heffernan's friends. As Infocult points out, this isn't journalism, it isn't even news. It's someone writing about what a few friends have to say and reality is completely opposed to the story's main thesis. Facebook is growing by leaps and bounds.
The exodus is not evident from the site’s overall numbers. According to comScore, Facebook attracted 87.7 million unique visitors in the United States in July. But while people are still joining Facebook and compulsively visiting the site, a small but noticeable group are fleeing — some of them ostentatiously.
Why write such a wretched story? Well there are a few reasons. First and most obvious is the urge to kill an online site which not only allowed Sarah Palin's successful salvo against the government health care program (and probably refused to sanction her for it), but is one of the primary methods by which Tea Party gatherings and activities are arranged. That makes it the tool of the New York Times' enemies.
Second, Facebook is on the internet. Like the hated Craigslist which has destroyed newspaper classified advertising revenues, these internet sites are devastating to the legacy media. As a commenter points out, anything bad which might be related to Craigslist gets reported breathlessly nationwide, but does anyone really believe nothing bad ever happened as the result of a newspaper classified ad? The newspapers would never go out of their way to report such an action, but they sure do with Craigslist. It's the enemy, Facebook doubly so because of the recent Palin victory.
Third, as another commenter pointed out, the New York Times and the legacy media used to be the arbiters of culture and what was cool. What they said as the newspaper of record was how people would trend. The Internet and sites like Facebook have robbed that coolness factor and now the NYT is viewed as a foolish, stumbling relic by the young. Anger at losing their influence and power makes people lash out at the ones responsible. So we get this kind of writing.
I am not on Facebook, nor do I care to be. I have too much else to do and too little energy to do it already. Social media stuff doesn't interest me, and it is mostly for young people. Yet I can see how it would be effective for some businesses and personalities, as well as families to reach out with. And at least it doesn't pretend to be something it is not or shouldn't be.
Facebook is booming, the New York Times is dying. And this writer is a knucklehead who should have had the trash she wrote thrown in her face for being so awful.