Why people used to go to church + why they now go to Google + Facebook instead

In case you haven’t seen them yet, check out Part 1 and Part 2.

For many years, I have maintained that Google is something like the Pope of the Internet: Google’s index functions quite similarly to what used to be referred to as the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (well, it actually works in revers — linking to “allowed” content rather than “prohibited” content, but either way it’s essentially all about censorship).

There are many reasons why people used to go to church — and truth telling sermons were only one of them (and for those who might have snored during the sermon, even these were perhaps not a very compelling reason). Sitting in wooden pews was probably also hardly one of them (pun intended ;) ).

Maybe the homemade chewy chocolate brownies were a motivator; perhaps the coffee helped; singing in the choir might have played a role; but certainly all of the chit-chat and latest gossip exchanged after the more pious and reserved service were probably a prize worth holding out for. This is, of course, a function now taken over by Facebook (so-and-so got married, little X’s birthday is coming up, etc.)

If you are able to convince someone that you have the undeniable truth, or that the inside scoop is to be gotten exclusively behind your four walls, then this may indeed be comparable to reinventing the wheel. If you were able to do that, you may very well be on your way to creating a really big deal — a part of what John Battelle refers to when describes how publishers seek to have “folks keep coming back” for more.

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