it's on the web so it must be true
Thursday, February 10 2000
I built a messageboard system for my employer this summer and now it gets about 500,000 page views each month. That's considered poor performance, and it shows up as a black mark on my management system report card. Yet without my messageboard system it would be difficult for my company to make the claim that our website is an online community. So the boards end up serving as a strategic asset as well as an available tool for community-style occasions as they arise. Unfortunately, I get neither bonuses nor management system credit for such incidentals. So, while the big multi-million dollar deal with Sony may well have been impossible without my messageboards, they are still judged by our management system as a colossal failure. The main problem, I think, is the boneheaded nature of the people in our online community. Messageboards tend to gather around them a higher quality of user than do either chats or instant messaging systems, but such high quality users are relatively scarce amongst our site's membership. While the higher class of user attracted by my messageboards is a great asset to the company, these factors aren't taken into account when my product is rated. Under our existing management system, my messageboards should be dismantled and removed from the site and something more appealing to the brutish common denominator should be erected in its place. The fact that this won't happen clearly demonstrates the failings in the metrics attached to my boards. If management doesn't become enlightened to this fact and show me some financial appreciation pretty soon, I'll just take my talents elsewhere, hopefully to a community where the members have measureable IQs.
On a related note, I should point out that someone in our company had a brilliant idea to produce a large variety of big black and white company-branded posters showing odd people doing odd things. The message was one of inclusion, and to a subversive like me, it was the early-80s-MTV-coolest marketing push our company has ever done. But the other day I learned from John, our senior editor, that this poster campaign had been scrapped. Its replacement (and John's replacement as well) is a numbingly awful stab at absurdist marketing, a stuffed animal mascot on a phallic-shaped log. It's so patently lame that it makes me fear for the 25% of my stock options which have already vested.
A senior reporter at the National Enquirer sent me an email yesterday telling me he wanted to talk to me about the John F. Kennedy Jr. conspiracy page I put together this past summer. So I gave him my number and talked to him when he called me tonight at about 9pm. I hoped maybe he was interested more in my realist-absurdist writing style than the specifics of my bogus web page. But it turned out that my page was so well-produced and well-written that he thought it was actually for real. He told me he'd spent a whole day tracking down the sources (Sara Poiron, Matthew Hart, Ray Roebuck, etc.) and had come up dry. He was contacting me as a last hope of getting into the meat of this story. Not knowing what else to say, I told the guy I'd heard it all on a commuter bus ride and that I didn't know the name of the guy who had told me everything. The National Enquirer dude pretty much figured out at that point that it was "all a bunch of BS" and the phone call ended. It was a disappointing conclusion to what could have been an interesting alternative story had he wanted to pursue the matter.
That National Enquirer dude had a creepy deformed gruffness to his voice. It conjured up images of a big burly child molestor or perhaps a fly-by-night telemarketer. I wonder if he really was from the National Enquirer.
How could the established press fall for such a transparently false web lead?
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