The Future: Journalism Dies

If you are like my father, then your search for science fiction novels can never be quenched. I have to admit, when I do read fiction, I like the science stuff the best too.

This week in class we talked a lot about the future of journalism. Where it’s going, what jobs will look like, what skills we will need etc. It’s hard for anyone to really know what is going to happen. It excites me to be honest. I think, more than ever, I want to focus my time at Columbia on New Media journalism, which will provide me with a new set of base skills (this website will get better, I promise) and perhaps some insight into the future, which is looking more and more like a science fiction novel.

We had a talk from Sreenath Sreenivasan, who would most likely be my New Media guru at Columbia. I was both embarrassed and pleased to be the person in class who knew the most about blogs, RSS feeds, the many different tools google can provide you and other geek things.  In fact, my professor has asked me to give him a tutorial next week. This whole “Wired” thing has paid off. This is stuff I’ve been studying every day, but now I feel validated that for some in the journalism world it is important.
The real highlight of the class was a video called Epic 2014. It was a fake history up until the year 2014 when Google causes the New York Times to fold. “On August 4th, The New York Times becomes a newsletter for the elite and the elderly,” according to the future history.

It’s a scary video because in all honesty, I could see something like EPIC actually happening. But there are some flaws to the video. For example, they highlighted Friendster as an important moment in Internet history. Way off there. Perhaps their future history has a few mistakes as well.

4 thoughts on “The Future: Journalism Dies”

  1. (Disclaimer: haven’t watched the video yet.) I’ve got to disagree with you on Friendster, David. I think Friendster was the first social networking site to break out. Without the early success of Friendster, I don’t think Myspace would be where it is now (one of the most popular sites on the web). Granted, Friendster sucks; they couldn’t handle the exponential growth in the early days and have never recovered. Myspace saw the opportunity and essentially copied Friendster, while adding HTML and better reliability.

    Nowadays SN is a hot topic, and I think that the Friendster-Myspace dynamic also touches some popular Internet trends that have become almost cliched–first-mover advantage, dangers of being on the bleeding edge, go big or go home, etc. Actually I guess what I’m really saying is that Friendster and Myspace should both be on the timeline, because they make the most sense when considered in relationship to one another.

  2. Actually, I agree with most of what you said Oliver (my old college roomate and nemisis). Friendster did come first — but in the end talking about that site just makes everyone laugh. That’s more or less what I said in class when the video finished.

    Sree asked what we thought of the video, which lead to a long puase. I broke that silence by saying … “well, they got Friendster wrong,” as only a witty jew like myself could.

    In truth I was just being cheeky, because Friendster was a big deal when it launched and MySpace wouldn’t be the giant it is without its predecessor.

    But check out the video. The ominous voice that gives the timeline just sounds goofy when he says something like “In 2002 Friendster comes online and changes how people……”

    It is true, but just putting in Friendster (which has become a bit of a joke) into the timeline was a comical moment in an otherwise serious clip, that was my only point.

    As we are told in social studies from 9th grade on, history is written by the victors. When a timeline of the Internet is made in 2014, I suspect MySpace will be recongized as the first important Social Networking site, even though Friendster came before it. In truth, neither can lay claim to the title “first SN site.” That award goes to a site that came out in 1995 called (offline now) and I believe came before Friendster too, but I could be wrong. I know was around a few years before it got public recogition (in 2003 or 2004 when Friendster made waves), but the site was known by SF people and Burning Man artists for a few years before that.

    But enough history. This isn’t a Ph.D. thesis post.

    What I’m interested in now is Digg — the new news social networking site. I want to see what happens when they expand beyond geek news.


  3. Ok, I watched it. And I have to agree that in the context of the video’s fictional timeline, Friendster seems out of place. MSNster? More like MyCrosoft. Or RubertMurdochSpace.

    Still, I think Friendster was “an important event in Internet history.” It wasn’t the first SN site, but as I said earlier, it was the first to break into the mainstream.

  4. The Friendster drop is out of place I think in part because the rest of the clip is so ominous. I can’t imagine a journalist watching it and not getting a little tight in the chest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *