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There’s a classic Saturday Night Live skit in which Steve Martin and then Bill Murray are staring at something. And we don’t know what they’re looking at, and they don’t know what they’re looking at. And they just keep asking, “What the hell is that thing?” How much of social media and journalism might be viewed that way right now when not so long ago no one would even be asking the question?
This question is not one that has any implicit value statement. Rather, it reflects the extent to which we no longer see “Journalism” with a capital “J” looking like it did ten years ago (I still remember when I first noticed reporter-written narratives in the New York Times magazine using the first-person and thinking, “But I thought you’re never supposed to put yourself, the writer, in the story you are telling!”) and, likewise, the extent to which we no longer see “social media” as solely navel-gazing tools of procrastination and distraction.
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