I always knew these techie wizards would get us journalists in a mess that we can’t extricate ourselves from.
Back in the late 70s, when I first encountered wizards of computers, I thought they were a clannish, cultish little lot, obsessed with details that most non-geeks don’t care about – like punch cards, making sure you wrote a zero in the proper way with a strike through and the rest.
And 40 years later, the techie wizards have succeeded in what really was always their aim – subvert journalism and replace it with powerpointless slides and something called “search engine optimisation”.
Yes – these days it doesn’t matter whether your story is good – if you don’t have the right metatags and the right “search engine optimisation”, the entity called Google will not “google” your news and the publisher will be upset because there will not be enough “page views” to justify hacks already miserable pay.
I know a load of great journalists all across the world – almost without exception these “data gatherers” are being “encouraged” to obey rules made up by introverts in darkened rooms that spend most of their lives believing binary or hex is actually important.
It didn’t matter so much in the halcyon days of web journalism, when it was the Wild West and a left-handed Billy-the-Khid could, with his six shooters, get away with murders. As in the Rogister and the STINquirer.
But now, in the 21st century, “search engine optimisation” is quite the self-interested thing for techies, who justify their hugely inflated rates on “delivering” page views and results.
It might be a little parochial of me, but aren’t people still interested in what they always were in the past? Sex and money – provided food, water and shelter is there, of course.
In reality, these self interested techies have decided that as they rule the world of traffic lights, servers, web sites and commerce, they can subvert the last bastion against their wizardly ways – journalism.
I guess they wouldn’t be that happy if instead we journalists decided to obey their wizardly ways, we exposed their lives in terms of money, sex, and shamanism.
The wizard techies, and Google is really the Great Beast 666 in this case, are doing what they’ve always done since the dawn of techiedom – making sure they’ve got jobs and are earning loads of money. And to hell with the rest of the world.
I can tell you this. Computer wizards have been arrogant forever. But ask yourself if Google will be remembered 100 years from now? A.N. Wilson will be. I doubt Linus Torvalds will. And all the publishers like Hearst and Murdoch will really really be dead bones.
Just my opinion.