Apple Stock Hit Twice By Bloggers
One might say the Internet is anything you want it to be—a truth machine or spreader of lies—maybe it’s both. In light of recent events Apple would say it’s the latter. Twice over the past month, a blogger has sunk their stock.
It’s not so much the lie that matters, sometimes it’s who repeats it. That one blogger posted about Apple’s fictional $800 laptop was inconsequential. That the New York Times dropped it into their vast echo chamber was catastrophic. Investors thinking Apple, during turbulent economic times, had finally decided to tap a hugely untapped market—the low price laptop market—drove the price up, and upon discovery of the fiction stocks subsequently tanked.
Sounds like people lost some money there.
A couple of weeks later, an 18-year-old blogger said Apple CEO Steve Jobs had a heart attack. Out there somewhere in the blogosphere, this lie wouldn’t have mattered. Repeated on a CNN website and by Henry Blodget, and again you’ve got a plummeting stock. This time there were investigations into whether the blogger was trying to manipulate the market to make a little money. Authorities haven’t yet discovered that link, yet.
These two events come at an interesting time in the evolution of blogging. At blogging’s peak, it was seen as the purest exercise of free speech, as spackling on the crumbling walls of journalism—no corporate or legal overseers, no hidden political agendas, real raw, campy, honest, and prone to be wrong on occasion in the most harmless of ways, usually, except during election seasons maybe.
These days, the elite audience that has been discussing blogs since their inception (i.e., not politicians or journalists or “regular” folk) seem very split on the next frontier. Tim Berners-Lee, warning about the potential impact of misinformation on society, has called for a system for vetting websites and labeling them trustworthy or not so that “the thinking of cults” can be suppressed.
Wired’s Paul Boutin this week told the blogging were waters were not just tested, but getting crummy from all the toe-dipping by “cut-rate journalists” and “underground marketing campaigns.” Therefore, bloggers concerned with authenticity are wasting their time trying to get noticed, and should just stop.
Yes, you’re right, authenticity and need for attention don’t always go together.
But then there’s the more Pollyanna ilk that says, despite all the crap out there, what we’ve seen this election season is that the Internet may have effectively taken the wind out of dirty politics’ sails. Well, maybe it’s still worth something after all.