The first is what I call the Long Tail Fallacy. It goes like this:
- Look on the shelves of a big chain bookstore or music store. It's mainly mainstream stuff. Boo.
- Look at the variety at Amazon or iTunes. Hooray!
- Isn't it great how the Internet has liberated us from the tyranny of physical shelves and geography?
Did you see the switch? Here it is again. Watch closely.
- Look at what was on mainstream network TV decades ago. Not much. Boo.
- Look at all that variety on YouTube. Hooray!
- Isn't it great how the Internet has liberated us from the tyranny of mainstream media?
See how I did that? Or again, this time from Digitally Enabled Social Change by Jennifer Earl and Katrina Kimport (p91).
- Look at offline rallies as reported by the New York Times. Only big and complex protest events. Boo.
- Look on the Internet. Online petitions, campaigns to save TV shows, all kinds of actions. Hooray!
- Isn't it great how the Internet has unleashed a torrent of activism among the population?
I think of the second as the Christmas Fallacy:
- Publishing used to be expensive.
- Now it's cheap.
- We have an abundance of publishing!
Seems reasonable enough? What about this:
- Christmas comes but once a year.
- I wish it could be Christmas every day.
- We'd have an abundance of Christmas!
We wouldn't, of course. We'd have no Christmas at all.