February 16, 2013

“The mainstream news has become the Boy who Cried Internet”

Filed under: Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:29

In Maclean’s, Jesse Brown explains why the mainstream media still doesn’t seem to “get” the internet or social media channels like Twitter, Google+, and Facebook:

While I was delivering some talking-head sound-bites on this item for a certain newscast, the reporter asked me why the Twitter hack was such a huge deal. I was stumped – it wasn’t. So she asked me why it was getting so much attention. I knew the answer, but held my tongue.

Here’s what I was thinking: it gets so much attention because print and TV news love to bash technology, especially social media, and can’t resist a scary story about how the people who use it should be very, very afraid. The truth is, despite years of fear-mongering stories about Facebook identity theft, Gmail phishing attacks and massive Twitter hacks, public interest and concern about these things remains very low. That’s because these things haven’t happened to the vast majority of us, or to anyone we know. For the small number of people this has happened to, the impact is typically minimal. The mainstream news has become the Boy who Cried Internet.

This is not to say privacy isn’t a valid concern when it comes to free Internet services. There’s much to worry about, but little of it has to do with Russian digital mobsters, Chinese military hackers or spammy Nigerian princes. The real data privacy danger – with social media, and beyond – comes from government.

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