Friends, Followers and the Future: How Social Media Is Changing Our News and Our Lives
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It happened, but it happened because it was massively subsidized. It was subsidized by all the other stuff in the newspapers and things now on the so-called fluff was paying for this, and also advertising. So we’re coming out of this period where we moved from the model of rich individuals, Hearst to Pulitzer, saying “I want it for either commercial or political gain and that’s why I control this media,” and moving over to this other model where advertising paid for it. Well, that model is gone. It’s not coming back. There’s a lot of challenges out there. I’m not going to tell you all the answers are before us. You’re talking about a revenue issue. That hasn’t been solved yet.
On the other hand, there are a lot of extremely interesting experiments going on. There are a lot of nonprofits that have sprung up that are doing good work and are now getting support.There’s more collaboration happening; out of necessity people are being forced to work together and to distribute together.
I think we’re literally in the middle of a revolution. In a revolution, things are uncertain, people get hurt, lots of things happen that in a less tumultuous time might be viewed as negative. But that’s the situation we’re in. So you can either deny it and put your head in the sand, or you can embrace it and try to find a model going forward. That’s pretty much where I put my bets, on the future.
Sarah Jaffe is an associate editor at AlterNet, a rabblerouser and frequent Twitterer. You can follow her at @seasonothebitch.