Meeting with PR people this morning (Kel & Partners...great team) someone asked what was the best thing to result from the Internet market over the past 15 years. My answer was paid search, which characterized the opportunity online for what it is now and will be in the future: the chance to feature the right message in precisely the right place at precisely the right time.
Second question, of course: what was the worst thing to result from the Internet over the past 15 years. My answer was the fact that the market was co-opted at the start by technologists and financial opportunists that postured advertising was broken and they were born to fix it, the effect of which over the long-term has been - well - exactly as reported in a piece that Online Media's "Around the Net" spotted in The Onion today titled, "New Social Networking Site Changing The Way Oh, Christ, Forget It."
From New York, The Onion's reporter writes:
NEW YORK--While millions of young, tech-savvy professionals already use services like Facebook and Twitter to keep in constant touch with friends, a new social networking platform called Foursquare has recently taken the oh, fucking hell, can't some other desperate news outlet cover this crap instead?
Explaining, the reporter adds:
By "checking in," users can earn tangible, real-world rewards. For instance, the Foursquare user with the most points at any given venue earns the designation of "mayor" and can receive discounts, free food, or other prizes that, quite honestly, we're thoroughly disgusted with ourselves for having actually researched.
In addition, please, kill us already.
You have to love honest reporting. Likewise, truth in advertising. Maybe the best thing to result from the Internet in the first 15 years is The Onion.