2 min read

Facebook loses face; We lose FYJ

Last week I met with some journalists at IDG to talk about the next generation of media consumers. I won't share the details of my presentation here; but I will say that -- quite predictably -- I urged those editors and reporters to spend some time on the social-networking sites popular with high school kids and college students.

What I didn't mention, but perhaps should have, is that most of those journalists won't be able to check out Facebook. Membership to that service is limited to students at universities, high schools and a handful of businesses. (If a middle-aged person tries, as I did, to sign up for the community related to his high school  alma mater,  he'll get an ego-shattering message saying he's "too old" to participate.)

Given that, most of us in the media will have to get our understanding of the new scandal at Facebook from secondary sources. So today I'll urge journalists to check out the coverage of what went wrong when Facebook seemed to violate its long-standing commitment to users' privacy.
There are stories here, here and here. (Whenever I want to learn about social networking, I turn to Danah Boyd, who may be the brightest person working in the field. But as I post this piece, Danah hasn't written anything about the new Facebook scandal. But I'll suggest you keep checking here for an update. On the other hand, whenever I want to learn about almost anything, I turn to Rex. And he has weighed in on the Facebook issue.)

To ponder a journalism-ethics question raised by Facebook and other social-networking sites, check out this earlier post.
For more on the social-networking phenomenon, take a look at this piece in Fortune about the founders of MySpace, and how missteps by rival Friendster set the pace for MySpace's success.
For a look at a new initiative from the magazine industry to attract the next generation of media consumers, check out this piece in the New York Times. (Note: my first reaction to this idea is to roll my eyes and moan out load, but maybe college kids really are eager to get pdf-like files in their email.)

And one final note: as those of us in the media have pondered the next generation, we've often turned to the voice of the Canadian reporter known as Fine Young Journalist to help us understand what was happening.
We won't be able to do that any longer.
FYJ has stopped blogging.
I would urge all of you to read his farewell post, which is full of the insights and lovely writing that I've come to expect of him.

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