Sunday, October 5, 2014
The Normalization of Technology
This is an article that describes how far we have come since the mid-2000s in terms of legitimizing technology. And it has happened in spite of ourselves.
One of the things that thwarted the growth of Craigslist, and delayed the ultimate destruction of a major source of income for newspapers, was the backlash generated against forging romantic or closely social associations through ads placed on the website. Whether it was for real, deep romance or superficial encounters, Craigslist was once a huge source of traffic and opportunity for people to hook up with. This complimented busy people or those who wanted to use pictures (Facebook? Absolutely) to make their value judgments. This was all well and good until--what, exactly?
The "scary" or "terrifying" online story of how someone was robbed/killed/abused/abandoned/left for dead by a motorcycle gang member, of course. That myth-inspiring, Snopes-ready trope that was guaranteed to STOP online dating in its tracks and force people to find bars where they could go and meet people.
Your source for these stories? Newspapers, naturally, especially ones that accepted advertising from self-defense schools, bars, restaurants, and from people who could sell you mace or oversized dogs. They had a vested interest in making it appear that places like Craigslist were online hotbeds of illicit behavior, all of it naughty and slightly unethical, and that death was right around the corner for anyone who tried to buy an overstuffed couch from a guy with an E-mail address of Slaughter_Bunny189@yahoo.com and a shady cell phone. (Slaughter_Bunny189@yahoo.com is a cool dude, don't bug him, bro.)
It didn't work. People accepted technology, waited for it to upgrade itself and make itself reasonably safe to use, and then they added it to their daily routines. They adopted it after the initial dry run. They are now meeting people online and enjoying the results. I'm sorry if your business model didn't figure on losing customers to online dating, but there it is.