In Silicon Valley Paris, the software coder Mark Zuckerberg the gossip reporter George Flack pitches his idea for a new kind of social-networking site society newspaper, where the targets will volunteer information about themselves instead of having it extracted from them by reporters, to a venture capitalist nubile young heiress:
There are ten thousand things to do that haven't been done, and I am going to do them. The society news of every quarter of the globe, furnished by the prominent members themselves (oh, they can be fixed—you'll see!) from day to day and from hour to hour and served up at every breakfast-table in the United States—that's what the American people want and that's what the American people are going to have. I wouldn't say it to every one, but I don't mind telling you, that I consider I have about as fine a sense as any one of what's going to be required in future over there. I'm going for the secrets, the chronique intime, as they say here; what the people want is just what isn't told, and I'm going to tell it. Oh, they're bound to have the plums! That's about played out, any way, the idea of sticking up a sign of "private" and thinking you can keep the place to yourself. You can't do it—you can't keep out the light of the Press. Now what I am going to do is to set up the biggest lamp yet made and to make it shine all over the place. We'll see who's private then! I'll make them crowd in themselves with the information, and as I tell you, Miss Francie, it's a job in which you can give me a lovely push.
Henry James, The Reverberator, 1888.
2 thoughts on “Privacy is history, 1888”
Would you be right at home today, Henry?
Who has control over the estate of Henry James? I think they ought to file suit against Zuckerberg for IP theft.
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