A Web-based roommate matching service, you say? You’d think we were in the midst of “a new techno-paloozaical moment” or something — which is precisely how Kurt Andersen describes New York in New York this week. Signs of a “techno-paloozaical moment” include, according to Andersen, “a critical mass of money guys and journalists and entrepreneurs are getting awfully excited, and the excitement is beginning to feed on itself … Blogs attracting significant audiences and advertisers … Money flooding into Web start-ups, and blog-conglomerates acquired for tens and hundreds of millions. The NASDAQ up 20 percent in the last year…” How is “New York’s second web boom” different from its first? “If this were 1999,” Andersen writes, “the unprofitable two-year-old student directory Facebook and the unprofitable year-old Web video portal YouTube would be filing IPOs.” Plus, “the vocabulary and doctrine are different” this time around, says Andersen — for instance, “to call a Web business a ‘dot-com’ in 2006 would be the equivalent of calling a black person ‘colored.’” The questionable comparisons don’t end there. Andersen sums things up thusly: “[P]eople are still having sex with strangers, but now it’s safer sex.” And yet, “when Rupert Murdoch pays $580 million for MySpace … it is difficult for other Internet entrepreneurs not to get … horny, which is to say greedy.”
For politer prognostication, we direct you to a “new media” article in this week’s Economist which — bullish-but-not-bawdy — urges readers not to be “too afraid of the coming age of mass participation” because “to regret the glorious fecundity of new media is to choose the hushed reverence of the cathedral over the din of the bazaar.”
UPDATE: This post has been updated to correct the name of the US News reporter.