When the rumor floated out of SXSW in Austin via Reuters' blogger Felix Salmon that Time Warner subsidiary CNN is about to acquire Mashable, two points of view dominated. First, that Mashable would lose its independence as an impartial chronicle of technology and social media developments and, second, that since Mashable's content is not that original to begin with, it will benefit from an infusion of resources and journalistic know-how.
There is a third point of view—such a sale is inevitable. Mashable was created to be sold to a larger media company. It was designed to make its founders wealthy.
Making connections with Mashable reporters has been an important goal for start-up and ancient technology companies like Facebook and Twitter. When Mashable gets sold—and it will be sold, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week—it will become a different media company with a different feel and point of view. Maybe under the aegis of CNN Mashable will provide more in-depth analysis and leave its "top tips" roots behind, or maybe it will lose its close connection to its audience. Either way, under new ownership Mashable will change, and so will its audience.
That leaves one question for communicators at start-ups that perhaps just locked in their first angel investor: What will be the next independent media company to capture the social media Zeitgeist, and who's the best person to reach there?
Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI