Rebooting the News #49

In Podcast on April 26, 2010 by Jay Rosen

Facebook’s recent moves.

Dave: Mark Zuckerberg is unabashed in seeking power. But “…these big pronouncements that come out of Silicon Vally are done for the press.” And to freak out competitors: mainly, Google and Twitter. It’s classic vaporware. “I got a little over-hyped myself.”

What did Facebook announce recently? Dave’s summary:

1. Like buttons will appear on sites other than Facebook

2. “Open graph,” meta-data encoded into web pages that says what the “object” on a page is, so that if you like it, the data says what “it” is: a movie, book, restaurant, or other product.

3. Interface to the data that’s behind the rendering of Facebook so programs can get behind it and “grab” it.

Jay’s summary of what Facebook said: “We want to replace page rank with ‘what your friends say’ and therefore relevance will be increased.” Very important for news providers: Facebook will own the meta-data about usage. (More on Facebook and newsppapers.)

Dave: “You think these guys are your friends over there in Silicon Valley, Mr. and Mrs. news industry. You could not be more mistaken. You don’t even have a seat at the table.”

Dave at Does this loop ever end?

Fact is we’re repeating a loop the tech industry has been caught up in for a few generations. We’re about to enter a phase when one vendor tries to break out from the rest, the way DEC did in the age of mini-computers, the way IBM did with the PC, the way Microsoft did in graphic operating systems, and the way Google did in what we may come to refer to as the web. We’re now headed into new territory, and Facebook is making a bold bid, maybe the boldest one ever, to dominate. But it won’t work, it can’t, they’re up against forces that are inexorable. Every time through the loop the bidder gets a little further, only to fall to earth once again.

What’s the escape from the loop? Dave: Decline megalomania and become instead of investor in others, seeding new growth.

iPad: first impressions

Dave to Jay: You had a first experience with the iPad last week; what are your impressions

Jay: “Simply that the touch screen is a completely different way of operating the computer; it’s not natural to me but I can see how it’s a potent shift, almost psychologically, between the machine and the user.”

Update on fact-checking the Sunday shows:

Jay: “This is probably the most viral idea I’ve introduced to the press.”

Couple of college kids started Meet the Facts to pressure David Gregory.

Howard Kurtz on his CNN show, Reliable Sources, began a “fact-checking the Sunday shows” segment. But CNN’s addiction to the View from Nowhere and leaving it there may interfere. What CNN should do is side with the facts no matter what, even if it leaves an impression of favoring one side or the other, as James Poniewozik of Time argued last week. No more advertising your innocence.

Dave: “The users have some power here that it would be good to see them exercise.”

Splitting off from the users: the moment of savvy

Jay: I was reading about the changes Facebook announced on Read Write Web and I came upon this moment where the author separates himself (and implicitly his clued-in readers) from the great mass of users. Here it is; listen:

Personally, I am skeptical that the average Facebook user is going to care all that much. People are notoriously naive about being watched on the Web, and this is likely to be no exception. More likely than not, Facebook users will enjoy the personalization aspects of the new platform and won’t think much about it – until Facebook starts openly targeting them.

Jay: This is something I’m attuned to and that I also object to. “The writer splits off the people who are reading them from the other people out there, treating them not as fellow users, not in solidarity with them, but almost like…. the masses.”

Dave: Doc Searls seized on exactly this moment in discussing the Facebook changes. He went back to Micosoft’s Hailstorm, which was supposed to take over but it didn’t. The users aren’t stupid; “you’re just not tuning in to the way they express themselves.”

Jay: “This moment where the analyst splits himself off from the people out there, that is also the beginning of what I call ‘the savvy’.”

Dave: That’s the loop!

Jay: “And the way to prevent this is to realize that a blogger, a writer is just a heightened case of a user.”

Dave: That’s why I called my company Userland.

Media hackers have an assignment

Dave: The Thursday night media hacker meet-ups at NYU have settled on a project: “We’re studying New York bloggers” and the whole the New York City blogosphere.

Here’s the show: Rebooting the News #49. We hope you like it. And please do comment.

5 Responses to “Rebooting the News #49”

  1. Jay, are the verbal interactions between you and dave tweets?

  2. Dave – at 29:37 I can hear the “bing” from Transmission! Those are of course legal torrents, right?

  3. I’d fact-check the Sunday shows except for one thing: I’d need to watch the Sunday shows.

  4. […] Rebooting the News #49 « Rebooting The News facebooks […]

  5. […] Rebooting the News #49 […]

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