Being famous seems like it would be awesome. Access to places most of us could only dream of, (usually) plenty of money and the ability to never have to ask “what do you think of what I’m doing” ever again.
In exchange for this, famous people give up quite a bit. They seldom can shop like normal people, never have a quiet day in the park again and can kiss NOT having a huge fence and possibly a security team around their property ever again.
But fame shouldn’t cost your dignity. Thanks to numerous Apple “news” sites, that’s what is happening to Steve Jobs. Yes, Jobs entering a cancer treatment facility is certainly news. His contribution to Apple, which I bet isn’t quite as important to Apple as the public would like to think, has propelled the company to ridiculous heights and stock prices.
Speculation about how long he has to live is so far over the line it hurts me to link to anything that mentions it. Jobs, like every accomplished, famous person before him, deserves exactly the same thing everyone else stricken with a terminal disease does: the ability to live out his life without headlines.
There’s no question as to the reasoning behind this kind of speculation. Page views and site popularity are the golden measuring sticks for which site admins that make their money from ads, which is still the main source of revenue for just about every site out there. While traditional journalism may be dying, I bet you wouldn’t see any “How long does Jobs have left” type headlines on the New York Times.
The responsibility to fix this sort of offensive action lies within you, within me, and within everyone who thinks that technology should allow us to become more human, instead of less. If social media or the internet itself gave power back to the people, situations like these are the perfect time to exercise that.
So let them know. Let them understand that crap like this isn’t what we want to be reading, it isn’t what we want them to be reporting and it isn’t the type of community we’d like to be a part of.