Zuckerberg’s Facebook Page, and 3 Other Stories You Should Read
Here’s what you missed while changing your Gmail settings as fast as possible…
The New York Times: Davos Elite Fret About Inequality Over Vintage Wine and Canapés
Selected by Dillon Baker, tech editor
It’s no secret that populist movements are gaining ground across the globe. While the causes are complicated, few would disagree that evolving technology, wealth inequality, and governmental dysfunction are key factors.
So what do the global elite, who meet every year at the lavish World Economic Forum in Davos, think is the solution? According to this wonderfully biting piece from the Times, “entrepreneurialism, mindfulness training, [and] education focused on the modern ways of technology.”
While those ideas are fine, they echo the tech industry’s out-of-touch approach to very real problems. People don’t care about the nebulous concept of “mindfulness”—they want health insurance that won’t bankrupt them if they get sick. And entrepreneurialism has long been a path solely for those with safety nets that allow them to take a huge financial risk.
If these are the only solutions the global elite can stomach, I don’t expect the global populist movement to stop anytime soon.
The New York Times: Is Watching a Movie on a Phone Really So Bad?
Selected by Craig Davis, editorial intern
My name is Craig and I have a confession to make: I enjoy watching long videos on my phone.
I lie in bed with my phone wedged between an extra pillow and the mattress, which provides an excellent viewing experience mere inches from my face. Apparently, a movie critic named Anne Billson thinks people like me should be shot.
She’s not the only cinephile who condemns streaming movies on phones. As Glenn Kenny writes in The New York Times, it’s a sensitive topic in the film industry, where the likes of Steven Spielberg and David Lynch have argued cell phones cheat the viewer of the theatrical experience. But does their concern stem from an act of sacrilege or a threat to their profits?
“In a sense,” Kenny writes, “it’s the one thing that the money guys and the creatives have fretted over in more or less equal measure.” He decided to test various streaming services himself, concluding that while the visuals are often strong, the audio doesn’t hold a candle to that of the cinema. Regardless, mobile viewership is on the rise, and streaming services are committed to being there for consumers. I’m excited to keep watching, so long as Anne Billson doesn’t find me first.
Selected by Joe Lazauskas, editor-in-chief
Lately, I’ve been contemplating starting a dating site exclusively for people who enjoy 16-minute reads on Medium about the future of media revenue models. Sure, it’d be a niche audience, but we’d save normal people from having to endure a date with me, and the requisite 10-minute diatribe about why ad-based business models are inherently flawed.
Sean Blanda’s post here is pretty much a love letter to people like me. The former 99U editor-in-chief, who now spends his days traveling the world and making me insanely jealous on Instagram, breaks down how the incentive system of modern media causes us to hate the news. He doesn’t come to clear conclusions about what we should do, but as Blanda writes, the first step is acknowledging that we have a problem.
Selected by Jordan Teicher, managing editor
A big reason why The Social Network is one of my favorite movies is the complexity of the characters. Jesse Eisenberg plays Mark Zuckerberg with a blend of innocence, arrogance, brilliance, and insecurity. Since the movie came out in 2010, the real Zuckerberg has stifled that complexity with a calculated PR strategy. Now, there’s even a team that meticulously oversees his Facebook page because, as a Cal professor told Businessweek, “his image in the digital domain needs to be controlled.”
Control is an important concept here. In many ways, Zuckerberg’s personality mirrors the tone of his platform. He’s been molded with minimal personality for maximum appeal, which is the same reason Facebook has grown so much. But trying to please everyone and avoid confrontation is exactly what caused Facebook’s biggest controversies over the last year. This article, written by Sarah Frier, suggests Zuckerberg may be eyeing a political career, but aside from that, it really makes me wonder what might have been if the most powerful man in tech wanted to be himself.Image by Pexels