After writing these articles for nearly 4 years it has become apparent that our sources for information, breaking news, scandals and stories are far reaching but they often don’t extend beyond the digital realm.
Faster Networks have a vast array of tech gurus, experts and journalists to lead us down varying paths that ultimately provide a story arc that has some kind of agenda, usually to inform but sometimes to influence thinking and therefore actions and reactions.
As a writer, my job is to discern when things are sketchy, untrue or inflammatory or even criminal yet my psychology is limited to the confirmation bias that tricks us into believing that because something was true once and we believed it, that thing will be true over and over. For example, Trump telling lies. It’s hard to imagine a world where ex-President Trump would tell the truth and that is because 77 indictments tell us so. What if the websites we visit or the writers we trust have their own confirmation bias that disallows them from believing that Trump could have a truth point? It’s wild.
Many of us don’t have the time to address and investigate everything we read for ourselves so we take shortcuts and we trust people to tell us the story in truth. Inevitably that story has an agenda. And, we are not really listening anyway because who has the time and we think we are right and we just need to confirm we are right.
Recently Faster Networks took a deep dive on Kevin Roose and Casey Newton, who are the brainiacs behind The New York Times tech podcast Hard Fork. As quoted in our TikTok on the Sly piece Kevin and Casey were invited to tour the Google Robotics centre and then wrote about what they had seen. Roose became tech fame when he made Rabbit Hole (NYT) – a podcast about how the internet influences audiences via algorithms to dark places, especially social media sites like YouTube, let’s not forget – owned by Google. Casey Newton writes Platformer, a tech Substack that bears journalistic integrity about Silicon Valley, tech bros and beyond. He is currently having a moment wondering if we can all disengage with Elon Musk to stop him in his childish antics of antagonising Mark Zuckerberg.
I listened to Roose and Newton on a recent Longform podcast here where they discussed how they found each other and how they brokered the deal with NYT and how beneficial that arrangement is for podcasts in terms of support, production, resources and credibility. They reminded listeners of how flexible podcasts are in terms of topics and discussion and they challenge listeners to ‘catch up’ to where things are at in tech. They have time to explore subjects in depth and also give an opinion but discuss things in a way where they come to some kind of conclusion. They find that when something is in print it is easily taken out of context and conveys a different message than what was intended. Plus, they add humour because tech journalism can be completely ridiculous ergo hilarious.
All this is to say that there are very few sources that are completely trustworthy and maybe there are none. However, when you do find commentators that don’t always agree and sometimes take different avenues to come to a similar conclusion, it’s an opportunity to lean in. When journalists do their research and their goal is to educate an audience while equipping them with tools to digest and dissect information, then by all means, use and share those resources to understand technology and spread the tech gospel. A tech view is an ever changing landscape with many moving parts and vested interests.