He not busy being born is busy dying…
Or, if you prefer your musical references via the UK as opposed to the US, as Dave Edmunds once sang, “Crawling from the wreckage, crawling from the wreckage, INTO A BRAND NEW CAR!
In case you missed the memo – and I doubt you truly care – Arianna Huffington ankled the Huffington Post, to focus on her wellness company. Which is like A-Rod leaving the playing field to become a Yankee advisor. He was toast and no one ever wanted to listen to him anyway; his expertise was doing his own damn job, at best.
And what is Arianna’s job?
Being famous and getting rich.
The HuffPo was a good idea that followed its initially hyped vision ever so briefly.
The HuffPo was gonna take back the dialogue from the right, was gonna own the web if not talk radio. All the liberals ingesting about Bush would have their own platform, where they’d write…for free.
Think about that, it wouldn’t go over today.
That’s a dead paradigm. We’ll cough up cat videos, post pictures of weddings and anniversaries, but those who provide content for a living – those who are writers – are on to the scam. They’re not working for free.
Not that there aren’t people who will.
Welcome to the modern web, where everybody’s posting but the caliber of writing is so godawful that no one is reading. We don’t even know if your ideas are half-baked, we can’t get past the headline.
And the HuffPo was all about headlines.
It was about search engine optimization to generate clicks which sold advertising.
And the team that developed this paradigm wanted to cash out, and did. And the progenitor moved on to create BuzzFeed, and the HuffPo ended up a couple of years and a couple of changes behind it.
Now let’s give credit where credit is due… The HuffPo invented CLICKBAIT!
You know, all those saucy headlines that lead to non-stories. The HuffPo specialized in that. When it started we were still susceptible. But today, Facebook has mounted an assault against clickbait; it ruins the customer experience. But what kind of experience is it when the whole damn site is clickbait?
That’s today’s Huffington Post. A lot of headlines and images but no content. It’s the news equivalent of a Twinkie.
But Arianna became more famous and got more rich and the last laugh is on us.
That’s the game today. Marissa Mayer does bupkes at Yahoo but gets rich in the process. It’s about one and done. Having your payday. And then living the good life ever after.
This is not Steve Jobs on a mission to change the world, taking a dollar a year in pay. This is all about cashing out, and staying out.
So, you know that the HuffPo was sold to AOL. And you know that AOL was sold to Verizon. And now there’s no place for Arianna, she’s a cog in a machine that doesn’t want her. But the truth is Tim Armstrong and the AOL brass ultimately didn’t want her either.
But this is less about Arianna than the site, the HuffPo itself.
It was cutting edge once and didn’t keep up with the times and is now marginalized. A thrill when it launched, now the left wingers would much rather go to Nate Silver‘s 538. At least there’s data there, to go along with the analysis; it’s not all puff pieces, empty calories.
And it’s not only the HuffPo, it’s Perez Hilton too. They both kept expanding into new territories, the HuffPo even launching a divorce vertical and Perez/Mario getting into fashion and pets. But these expansions looked exactly like what they were, land grabs to sell more advertising, and we’re sick of ads, we want substance.
So, BuzzFeed does clickbait better than the HuffPo. It’s clickbait with a twist, they create the content, and source it out everywhere, as opposed to the HuffPo consolidating others’ stories.
Aggregation sites are history;we’re inundated with links.
We now live in an app economy, on our mobile devices. We choose who gets through the filter and if you don’t, you’re irrelevant.
And Facebook at least pays lip service to its users. The HuffPo was almost always above its target audience, holier-than-thou just like Arianna herself.
It’s a modern tech story, no different from Osborne Computer or Kaypro or WordPerfect or other titans that triumphed and faded away.
They stopped innovating; they didn’t keep up with the times. Then they were extinct.
Music is better, because if you’ve had hits you can trade on them forever.
People always want to relive the good times.
Then again, the who moved my cheese people can’t get over the death of rock and the rise of pop music and EDM. They refuse to embrace change, they want the past to return, and that’s never gonna happen.
And the new music stars know the game has changed. Only an oldster spends three years polishing an album, the new kids on the block, led by the rappers, personified by Drake, are constantly in the marketplace, even releasing mixtapes for free. Because they know if you’re not in the show, you’re soon to be forgotten. There’s a tsunami of info and if you don’t catch the wave, ride it to the beach and hold on for dear life, you’ll be plowed under, taken out to sea and never heard from again.
Still, the joke is on us. Because we buy this crap.
The concept that Arianna Huffington is a star with gravitas entitled to our attention. Not admitting she’s a creature of the media, she’s barely different from Kim Kardashian, but the latter is richer, and if not educated, even more street smart.
So, if you’re following Arianna into her wellness venture I’m laughing.
Why exactly should we be listening to her, because she wrote a book? If I want to know about sleep I’ll go to a doctor. I’ll go to an expert, someone who dedicated his life to the cause as opposed to a trendmeister out for a buck.
But bucks she has, from her divorce and the sale of the HuffPo. Arianna’s a winner. Because that’s the American game, making something out of nothing and getting rich in the process.
But when so many are struggling, when the real problems of this nation not only go unsolved, but unaddressed, it’s unseemly that we’ve got a coterie of people who’ve rigged the game to get rich and famous yet have contributed almost nothing to society.
You might hate the cops, but on a good day they keep the peace.
As for teachers, there are tons of bad ones, but they’re on the front lines of the future, educating our children. They’re where the rubber meets the road but we keep complaining about their unions. Come on, teachers haven’t been well off since Reagan. Many have other jobs, they can’t live on their pay.
And I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole of either police or educators. All I’m saying is they’re underpaid people who are truly making a difference.
Does Mark Zuckerberg make a difference?
Well, he allows us to connect with everybody we ever knew. But is this the basis for a productive society? Where you roll up the world’s population to sell them ads and bogus information?
We’ve got it wrong folks, we need a reset.
Don’t confuse today’s tech titans with the progenitors. This is not Bill Gates contributing to productivity, putting a computer on every desktop. This is mostly wankers coming up with lame ideas that hoodwink us so they can get rich.
Of course there are exceptions, Uber is a breakthrough. Airbnb too, however disruptive.
But selling advertising in new ways? Utilizing subterfuge to get us to pay attention?
If that’s your goal, if that’s your achievement, you should be exposed.
And I’m exposing Arianna Huffington here.
Furthermore, she was a bad techie. Steve Jobs brought us the mouse, got rid of the floppy, kept killing the past to get on with the future. Arianna just stuck where she was, a one hit wonder with a pretty lame song to begin with.