G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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It would be funny if the New York Times did a trend piece on newspapers of record getting trolled by sources for trend pieces. It’s happened twice. So, trend.
A reporter at The New York Times was apparently trolled by some Cornell University students. The students gave false names to the NYT reporter for her trend piece on social media’s impact on the college bar scene. Ryan Holiday’s book sits in the center of this discussion as Holiday, as an experiment, was a source for a New York Times piece about turntables. Holiday didn’t know anything about the subject but hooked up with a Times reporter through HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and was able to pose as an expert and was quoted in the NYT piece. Funny enough, Jezebel and Business Insider report on the latest NYT mishap. Holiday also laid heavy criticism on both of those outlets for being the most overt examples of shoddy online journalism.
Just to touch on the trend piece in question though, these things always read funny when you are someone who is familiar with the particular trend. I suppose trend pieces are meant to play the 10% of the “in-crowd” against the other 90% who are somewhat ignorant of the trend. As someone who has lived through and still interacts with people who are balls-deep in the overlap between bar-going and the existence of social networking, I read the piece with a “no shit Sherlock” mentality.
After all, cool is irrelevant when you have arrived at a bar at the insanely early hour of just after 9 p.m. on a Wednesday, in the company of a fraternity “most of us wouldn’t go to a mixer with,” said Michelle Guida, 21, fiddling with her orange Hermès bracelet and gathering three straws to drink from simultaneously. “But it’s their bar tab,” said Vanessa Gilen, also 21, who did not look up from her iPhone as she sipped and texted furiously.
Yes, this is why bar chicks are ridiculed. They “I don’t like you but I’ll take your money/drinks” mentality is pervasive. And, ses, nobody “cool” goes to the bar before 11 p.m.
These days text messaging, Facebook and Foursquare make it possible to see if a bar is worth the trip (translation: who is there) without leaving the dorm. Meanwhile, location-based mobile apps like Grindr, which point to the nearest available candidates looking for sex or not-quite-sex, are helping dethrone college bars from their place as meat markets.
Besides the fact that Grindr is for gay dudes and given the fact that since a scant percentage of the population are gay dudes, Grindr is mostly irrelevant. But the larger point applies – social networking takes away the mystery of the reveal. The excitement of seeing who is or who is not at the destination in question. People thinking about venturing out for the night want to make sure that they’ll have the best time possible. Anything less than that is a waste and not worth committing to. When everyone is searching for the best possible time, fewer people have a good time at all. There is a lot of game theory in this (econ game theory, not PUA game theory).
The bigger picture here is that strategies to get drunk in the most efficient manner possible are similar to strategies to use social networking in the most efficient way possible. It’s all a ploy to get laid. Real world dating is crowded out by Match.com and OKCupid.