Facebook made some very big decrees and the press bought them all hook, line, and sinker. A few years ago, they had haughtily declared that the printed word was obsolete, and that videos would be all the rage, and media outlets dutifully created disposable videos that everyone was watching.
I didn’t buy that logic, and my latest book goes into why. Symbolic communication is innate, but with the wild numbers of hits Facebook proclaimed, people in the news media were all gearing up to be cool kids or something.
The news media now has egg all over its face, and Fast Company is in a pouty mood about it:
Why media people are furious over Facebook’s bad video metrics
A more insightful article would be, “Why does this dead profession keep believing Corporate American carny yet again,” but that would actually require admitting they were in the wrong about something, and that is just too scary for them:
Now advertisers are suing over the company allegedly cooking the books and not disclosing this miscalculation. And media people are fuming about this development. Rightfully so: The media industry over the last two-plus years has been punctuated by an awful euphemism known as the “pivot to video.” With traditional digital advertising revenue flatlining, Facebook managed to convince online publishers that video would be the next media goldmine. The company jumped headfirst into the medium–changing its algorithm to favor moving images, while convincing both advertisers and publishers alike that a long-term, video-first strategy would be the answer to their revenue woes.
I could have saved them the trouble. Just basic logic and a rudimentary understanding of innate human behaviour would have been enough to be skeptical enough to do their own research to see this was hyped up nonsense.
The press went on the unproven say-so of a company that had a vested interest in touting the Next Big Thing. My book goes into detail about those flaws, but where there should have been skepticism, there was credulity.
And why are you believing Facebook’s cocky press releases? Do you not question why they are saying what they are saying?
Facebook was never supposed to be an outlet for news — and it still isn’t. It is middle class DIY press release. It is about spying on your ex-flames and rivals as the stay-at-mall moms and trophy husbands scour their friends lists to see what they should be jealous of and what they have to one-up as their gullible children babble about politics they know nothing about as they airbrush their selfies until they look like a creepy barbie doll who is sucking on a lemon.
That’s Facebook. It is a low-rent hybrid of the National Enquirer for the middle class to make them feel like celebrities as it is also Jerry Springer so they can get into ignorant slap fights with people over who is the most politically ignorant just so they can also indulge in some trailer park mud wrestling.
It is not built for actual news.
Not when you have memes of silliosity cluttering the walls.
The alternative to journalism doesn’t change its trajectory just on the say-so of a corporate or government entity.
Proof and a feel for the world is essential.
And if you are chronicling the world, that feel should be well-honed and refined.
Journalism became stenography of the Establishment and the Mob, and it lost its way.
It never learned to resist.
It never learned to question.
And you can never find an answer unless you learn what the purpose of a question is — not for others, or yourself…