Less bullshit, more real shit.
Would you like fries with that blog post?
Confession: I once wanted to be a journalist.
No, really, it’s true. Yes, I can hear your laughter from here, but, please, let me continue.
When I was 16, I even had a column in my high school’s student newspaper after I had built a sweetheart connection with some public relations people who actually sent me devices to test, review, and publish. I did that a few times; while most students had their phones taken away by school administration, I was having phones shipped to a mailbox with my name on it. And some of my non-tech dialogue on local politics even made it into my local newspaper. My parents were very proud.
But then I realized how much bullshit there is in journalism. Print journalism was declining (and still is, of course), web journalism —especially in the world of technology and startups — remains a desperate race to pageviews, filling pixels with the gigabytes of bullshit that grace the pages of such despicable websites as TechCrunch, PandoDaily, BuzzFeed, and Mashable. The Engadget/This Is My Next/The Verge fiasco; the leakage of The AOL Way; and a personal brush with some insider drama sealed the deal.Web journalism simply wasn’t for me: I couldn’t imagine pumping out pages of lies, fluff, and partial-truths for very little money.
Still, the problem of bullshit on the Internet bothers me. I get physically tense whenever I read blatant fallacies or misleading op-eds. Reading the pundits pundit about punditry can actually induce minor bouts of rage.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
We have a choice. We can read and write bullshit and we can argue about iOS and Android and discuss whether or not “all my friends” are using Facebook. Or we can delve deeper, we can tell the real story, we can demand proper discourse.
We can talk to hundreds of young people from around the world, profiling their social media habits and delving deep into their socio-economic profile and how that affects their friend networks and how that in turn affects their internet habits or we can listen to few lone voices that somehow get to write for Mashable because clearly they’re not biased. We can spend weeks and months on a real story or we can jam out a bullshit post before breakfast.
Those with microphones — even quiet ones like mine — can choose to tell bullshit or focus on real shit. The former is easier, cheaper, and fattening, like McDonalds. The latter is difficult, expensive, and complex, and fulfilling, like that really cool local cafe down the street. I know I’d much rather do the latter. As social media becomes the primary carrier for breaking news and “the latest,” serious, slow journalism and storytelling can rise again, telling stories that can only be told slowly and from a distance. Then, maybe, just maybe, I’ll have my opportunity to tell real stories, and I’ll proudly consider myself a journalist.
In the meantime, it appears that BusinessInsider is running a list of “19 Things The Millionaire Next Door Won’t Tell You.” Would you like fries with that?