Journalists have now gotten a silly idea that if they keep slagging “Big Tech”, everyone will run back to the traditional media where they will tell people what to think and how to think it, being the centre of attention once again.
They do not see they are a horse and buggy and social media are cars. If people become disenchanted with social media, they will be looking for something more advanced, not less.
But NBC is trying to whip up the hate for social media, and it is laughable.
To illustrate how clueless their logic happens to be, take this passage:
Those changes are now the subject of growing skepticism from politicians, academics and that same media.
This is classic appeal to authority. If authorities don’t like it, it is bad for you!
These groups may hate social media, but the reasons are for self-interest.
Governments do not like it because people can find alternative information, and can register their protest. The flow of information goes beyond a government’s control.
Academics do not like it for the same reason: people can find out more information and can challenge accepted academic dogma. Information is more accessible, meaning non-experts do not have to rely on academics to dole it out to them.
That leaves us with the media.
Of course they hate social media. It is direct competition. They cannot be gate-keepers. They cannot dictate who is a star, or who is to be seen as hero or villain.
But none of those reasons are why Big Tech is experiencing growing pains.
The first is simple: Big Tech had a two decade plus run of positive press. Sooner or later, you are not going to be young and adorable; so that is not a big deal.
The second is the reason why social media will fall: because the promise of getting everything you ever desired cannot be kept. People had fantasized that all they had to do was plaster a picture of their special child online, and people would make the little brat a star. All they needed was a platform to be “discovered.”
That didn’t happen. It was a serious let-down for a lot of people who call themselves “YouTube Stars” they way people in dirty movies are never porn actors, but “porn stars.”
The Internet was cheap entertainment that offered as many Bejeweled permutations and free porn you could possibly want. You could show off your lunch to amaze the world at the kind of amazing food you ate, and silently stalked the woman you should have married, though she would see it as a bullet dodged.
It didn’t prove to make people fall in love with you, or buy your music or hand-made teddy bears. It didn’t make everyone an instant billionaire with millions of followers.
That’s what is at the heart of social media’s declining fortunes: not the lack of privacy (if you want to be famous, why do you care about privacy?), or Big Data, or anything else. From Bitcoin to Kickstarter, not all dreams came true.
And that is what is eating citizens. They got the platform, but the results were lacklustre. They would be even more lacklustre if they went back to traditional media; and so, they won’t come crawling back.
It is a challenge for Big Tech to overcome, but their fortunes are still large more solid than the predecessors. NBC has nothing to gloat about.