Want to promote a cause or trend? Want to catapult your pet issue from obscurity to fame? Why not befriend a reporter for the New York Times?
Facebook, the online social grid, could not command loyalty forever. If you ask around, as I did, you’ll find quitters.
Specifically, New York Times reporter Virginia Hefferman asked a bunch of her friends. Five of them had quit Facebook. From this, she projects yet another nationwide trend story, an "exodus" in fact, even as she concedes:
The exodus is not evident from the site’s overall numbers. According to comScore, Facebook attracted 87.7 million unique visitors in the United States in July.
The site's overall numbers, those stubborn facts of course, do not prevent Hefferman from characterizing Facebook as an impending "ghost town". Like Pauline Kael, who was shocked that George McGovern lost the 1972 election because no one she knew voted for Nixon, the Times is happy to project the future from the behavior of a few New Yorkers so isolated from the mainstream that, well, everyone I know has a subscription to the sunday New York Times.
Next trend projection from the Times: Americans overwhelmingly reject the fiction of Stephen King and the music of Beyonce in favor of Don DeLillo and Polvo, because that's what everyone I know is reading or playing.