100 articles – ‘New social networking site changing the way oh, Christ, forget it’

21 September 2010

Written by: Lawrie Zion

New social networking site changing the way oh, Christ, forget it‘ by The Onion

‘Aging, scared newspapermen throw themselves at the latest mobile technology trend in a humiliatingly futile attempt to remain relevant.’ After one sentence from The Onion, you never have to read another tech trend piece again. (You never should have had to in the first place.)

This is a satire that strips down tech trend reporting to its bare bones: take the latest popular website, pretend its features are a vital improvement upon the last dozen websites on which you reported, then act like your article is something other than free publicity for their site and a strategy to get cheap clicks on yours.

The real problem is the middle step. If there’s a trend in society, there’s nothing wrong with reporting on it. No problem with trying to earn an increase in ad rates by knocking up a few hundred words about the latest Next Big Thing, either. But never write a story that pretends new ways for people to talk to each other on the Internet are new and exciting instead of inevitable and a fact of life.

Jarrod Strauch is a journalist studying at La Trobe University. You can read more of his work on his Blanc Garçon blog.