Do I really need to know that Metro France let 3 reporters go, or that PCM the owner of the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant is downsizing?
No, I don't. And neither do you.
Ever since I subscribed to themediaisdying on Twitter I get dozens of updates a day reporting layoffs in print media, radio, television, advertising, you name it. Updates based on anonymous, unconfirmed tips: A dozen layoffs at WGBH! The SUN-TIMES MEDIA is closes printing facility! 80 Jobs to go at MTV UK! A magazine editor friend of mine who used to poke fun at Twitter said she's been "gobbling it up like candy." Well, so have I and, like a kindergartner the week after Halloween, I'm sick to my stomach.
Apart from the obvious irony of learning about layoffs in print media through a social networking platform, and the fact that we're already saturated with bad news about the economy which contributes to our tooth-grinding dreams (or lack of sleep), themediaisdying feeds a kind of mob mentality that is unproductive at best. Did journalists at the Cleveland Plain Dealer worry about people at the Los Angeles Times during the Great Depression? Maybe they did. But nowadays when I log on to Facebook and see a so-and-so "is stressed" I immediately wonder: Did they get sacked? Should I call? Send a tweet?
I'm grateful for the kind of grass roots mobilization that platforms like Twitter and Facebook enabled during the election season, and I love reading - in real time- about my friend's baby's first bath, but when it comes to the death of the media, I say all 7,339 of us Twitter subscribers hold hands and press "remove."
Besides, as our favorite Twitter-rock-star-entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck said recently on his Twitter feed: "u can't cry u just have to HUSTLE."
Julia Cheiffetz is a Senior Editor at HarperStudio, a new imprint at Harper Collins. You can find her at www.26thstory.com where this was posted simultaneously.