Now, advertisers seek targeted audiences rather than broad coverage, and savvy consumers read online reviews of everything before making a purchase. People glimpse the news in their Facebook feeds and find amusements through social media forums. They complain bitterly on Twitter, then look around and wonder where the sense of community went.
The problem has been debated for about 20 years now. But I think history will look back and find one point he made to be the most-compelling problem: “the sense of community.” The internet has eliminated the “gatekeepers” or the “arbiters” or the “curators” of common knowledge. There was a guy who became famous for describing “the long tail,” and that people could find anything they wanted with the modern internet, and people could make money filling those desires, no matter how obscure or arcane. The internet has allowed each person to radicalize along intensely-individualized lines, and be virulently opposed to anyone who differs in any way. This is the problem. It’s just that Twitter found a way to capitalize on this virulence.
We can’t get along any more, because we all presume ourselves the final authority on everything. So there’s very little room in the market for a journalistic publication that’s supposed to offer a wide swath of “important” stories. No one agrees on what those stories are, let alone why they’re important, and what they infer. The entire idea of a publication has been (almost) destroyed by the internet. Only a few bigs will remain. It has much less to do with how to monetize it as it has to do with people’s desire to consume it. I guess what I’m saying is that I think what people really wanted all along was Facebook, but the closest thing we had was the local paper. I mean, look at the orchids and onions in The Republic. It has always been a “compelling” reason to get it. Facebook is just that, times a million.
While linking my local paper, I see that there are twenty-seven trackers and ads on that page, and this is another thing to talk about in the future.