blogging / General Media

(Random #) things that summon my inner curmudgeon

I’m putting these things together because I see them all the time, and I just don’t have the energy to spend vast amounts of time crafting lengthy essays debating sloppy reporting, overly glowing predictions, and stupid social media strategies.

1. X is the most revolutionary thing since Y. 

Exhibit A: Why Vine will be as revolutionary as Twitter

I am always skeptical of these types of articles. The truth is, nobody knows what will be as revolutionary as what came before it. There are people who have an evangelical belief that something is the greatest thing since sliced bread. But the Internet is littered with “Revolutionary product X” startups that quietly faded out, got bought out, or just never took off.

Twitter was fortunate because it was in the right place at the right time, among other things. So was Instagram. So was Facebook. Vine isn’t the first 6-second video app to come along. It just happens to be the one Twitter owns.

Of course, nobody gets called on the carpet when their predictions prove wrong, so it’s easy to make these hyperbolic claims.

2. I talked to three people, therefore I can make broad statements about a group of similar people.

Exhibit A: Journalism students still see value in print newspapers

Setting aside the fact that there are NO NON-PRINT newsPAPERS, the article references two journalism students and an authority (I suppose) from the University of Southern California. No statistics, no surveys – nothing but anecdotes, and thin anecdotes at that. The amount of pixels spilled on the “Future of Journalism” is voluminous. This type of fly-by article adds less than nothing to the available information.

3. Exhibit 3,235,234,234,o24 of the Streisand Effect, or why big companies are still not aware of all Internet traditions

Exhibit A: Applebee’s Overnight Social Media Meltdown

While it shouldn’t be a surprise that major corporations don’t understand The Streisand Effect – although they doubtless have teams of people who are supposed to “get” social media – it’s always instructive to see when one has a meltdown in the face of Internet commenters.

What’s so hard about “We screwed up, we admit it, and we’re moving forward trying to do our best”? And don’t argue your point with the combined outrage of thousands of Internet commenters. You won’t win, and you’re losing more customers by the comment.

4. You mean people use an app devoted to sharing about themselves to … share about their world? Welcome to the Internet!

Exhibit A: #Me: Instagram Narcissism and the Scourge of the Selfie

I have fun making jokes about Instagram and selfies as much as the next person. And I loved the Instagram/Nickelback parody (warning: auto-play video). But I’m a little tired of serious tone complaints about people being self-absorbed on social media. Here’s a clue: Most people are self-centered. That’s only a problem when their self-centeredness interrupts your own self-centeredness. Instagram selfies, photos of food and faux artistic filters are harmless. If you don’t like looking at them, use that finger to scroll on past, or unfollow the offending narcissist.

Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, message boards, what have you, it’s all about communicating with other people. And most of that communication has a self-centered aspect. Human expression is, by definition, an attempt to express yourself.

Get over it or move to an island.