We were the guppies, now they’re coming for the whales

I’ve been saying this for awhile but Mat really articulates it well here. Today, reports that Facebook will display full content from New York Times and others natively inside Facebook, compounds the fact that publishers aren’t willing to do what Facebook will do for them: build an optimal reading experience for mobile (particularly smartphone) consumption.

Facebook’s Chris Cox quoted in Re/Code.

We build Circa entirely based on the problem facing these news organizations, which is to build a natively optimized platform for consuming information on smartphones.

As Leah Finnegan at Gawker said, Facebook purchases its rivals. It consumes its subjects.

There’s some irony that I’m also posting this to Medium, which is as parasitic as Facebook and whose endgame is the same (while its aesthetics may be more alluring.)

I’ve written about digital feudalism before, it’s just becoming more ubiquitous and consuming even larger hosts. We were guppies, now they’re coming after the whales.

What are you doing this for?

I know there are many folks in the media business who spend a great deal of time trying to figure out how to build a better mousetrap.

Mousetraps are not built for the benefit of the mouse.

I’m not interested in building mousetraps. I’m not interested in the type of A/B testing that wants to know what delivers the most pageviews, without regard for the actual content. I feel an obligation to respect people willing to give me their time and attention.

I decided I wanted to do this work because I want to better understand the world and I sincerely care about trying to help others do the same.

I know that may be naive, but I believe that doing things a certain way has consequences.