The (2008/05/25) cover story of NYtimes (login reqrd), exposes –the tip of the iceberg–a tale of web 2.0 gone wild.
It’s easy to draw parallels between what’s going on online and what’s going on in the rest of our media: the death of scripted TV, the endless parade of ordinary, heavily made-up faces that become vaguely familiar to us as they grin through their 15 minutes of reality-show fame. No wonder we’re ready to confess our innermost thoughts to everyone: we’re constantly being shown that the surest route to recognition is via humiliation in front of a panel of judges.
the Gawker “voice” was righteously indignant but comically defeated, sighing in unison with an audience that believed nothing was as it seemed and nothing would ever really change. Everyone was fatter or older or worse-skinned than he or she pretended to be. Every man was cheating on his partner; all women were slutty. Writers were plagiarists or talentless hacks or shameless beneficiaries of nepotism. Everyone was a hypocrite. No one was loved. There was no success that couldn’t be hollowed out by the revelation of some deep-seated inadequacy.
When Jessica cautioned me against reading the comments, she also told me that the commenters loved it when she revealed personal details. Not only did I find this to be true, I found it to be almost necessary. Injecting a personal aside into a post that wasn’t otherwise about me not only kept things interesting for me, it was also a surefire way of evoking a chorus of assenting or dissenting opinions, turning the solitary work of writing posts into something that felt more social, almost like a conversation.
It’s a must read for anyone who “overshares” on the public arenas of the internets.