Friends abandon Facebook; NYT writer sounds death knell
Glad to see I’m not alone in my scorn for Virginia Heffernan’s Sunday NYT mag story about Facebook quitters. Heffernan took very slim evidence indeed — a handful of friends have soured on the social media site — to suggest it is doomed like a college clique. Of course, the numbers don’t really back that up, as she herself acknowledges in a paragraph that encapsulates all that is wrong with this column:
The exodus is not evident from the site’s overall numbers. According to comScore, Facebook attracted 87.7 million unique visitors in the United States in July. But while people are still joining Facebook and compulsively visiting the site, a small but noticeable group are fleeing — some of them ostentatiously.
The most shocking thing about this flimsy story is that it actually made it past editors. Yes, The Medium is a column, and yes it’s the dog days of summer, when many editorial minders on vacation, but the NYT should know better. The NY Observer rightly spanks the paper for the story.
But the Facebook bashing doesn’t stop there: Last week, the WSJ ran a story about how the social media site ruins friendships. “Like many people, I’m experiencing Facebook Fatigue,” Elizabeth Bernstein confessed. She then proceeds to lament her oversharing friends without ever acknowledging that her parent’s company owns rival social networking site, MySpace, which has lost ground to Facebook the past year.
That might have been useful information to pass along.
Some of this hand-wringing is inevitable given Facebook’s growth in popularity and the inevitable churn of such network. Twitter, a much younger service, has already been pronounced over, even as entertainment journos breathlessly attribute box office success or disappointment to tweets.
Here’s the irony: Journos lamenting the narcissism of social media often commit the same sin writing trend stories about it.