The Toronto couple that decided to attempt to raise their child as gender neutral triggered a media frenzy. The way the story grew became its own media news story.
It is fascinating to see what this reveals about media and North American culture. First off it is the power of social news media outlets such as the Drudge Report and Fark.com moved this piece of news first. Most significantly is that the greatest impact was on the American audience. The Toronto Star reports that “Online traffic to the story tripled within a matter of hours with more than 80 per cent of page views coming from the United States, up from about 50 per cent the day before. This was followed by Canada at 8.3 per cent and the United Kingdom with 3.2 per cent. “The report also points to the power of Facebook to propel a news item such as this one into viral information.
The principles of mass media constructing reality and carrying intended and unintended messages is played out with this viral news item. Social media turn this into a significant piece of news because those who reported it/shared it felt that it was significant. That is the real point is it not ? Is this really important or just entertainingly odd. How would today’s social media have responded to Skinner’s Air crib ?