Have you ever found yourself typing away on Facebook while keeping up with people on Twitter? More and more we have become reliant on Twitter and various websites to stay informed in the happenings around our community and around the world. It is rare to find an individual under the age of 35 that regularly watches the local news cast and relies on local networks and papers for news. This is a far cry from even 10 years ago. However, with the proliferation of the internet, more and more people become reliant on their on-line news sources. When Michael Jackson died, many found out from Twitter or on the TMZ website. By the time CNN or NBC had began coverage, many in the world already knew he had passed. This can be seen as the day when regular people put corporate news stations on notice. It is now imperative that every anchor or reporter on the news have a Twitter and Facebook account. It is now the norm to feature live tweets and emailed questions on a news program. How did we get to this point? Can we ever go back?
Let’s first take a look at the demise of the printed word. About 10 years ago there was a rumbling that newspapers would be a thing of the past within the next few decades. The old timers could not fathom a world without daily papers. The young guns knew that it was only a matter of time until technology lead us to a new day in how we got our news! It seems that the young guns knew something that the old timers were to proud to see. The internet has untold powers that have caused many people to seek for quicker avenues to gather information. Rarely will you see a college student head to the library to look up a book. More often you will see them on their laptop punching in search keywords and within seconds trying to find the most relevant pieces of work. What would take up to an hour at a library, now takes minutes on the computer. The newspaper has always had one fatal flaw: in a newspaper, there is no such thing as breaking news. How many times have we picked up the paper in the morning and seen that the results from last night’s ballgame hadn’t made the printing deadline? People need only open their web browser and click on a website to get up to the minute reports ranging from sporting events to shuttle launches. Did a politician get arrested within the last hour? CNN has the breaking details on their website. Don’t worry though, if you haven’t been able to get online, you can hear about the details tomorrow morning. That is assuming of course that the incident happened before the print time.
The newspaper cheerleaders are yelling about the need to have a paper while on the go. It is a convenient way for people to catch up on news while going to work or school. It is convenient to have something to read while on break. That is absolutely correct! My iPhone has an app that allows me to get all the breaking news from the Politico or NPR websites. Even the New York Times has an app for that. Mobile phones are no longer used for simple phone calls. These days someone could be on a phone call, listening to music, all while looking for directions to a restaurant. Technology has made us masters of the multi-task! Why should you lug around a newspaper when you can use your phone to get breaking news. To pour more salt on that paper cut, The Honolulu Advertiser sends text messages to your phone of breaking news.
With the rise of Twitter and Facebook, people have found more avenues of sharing news and gathering information. Our addiction to quick information has gotten us to find inventive ways of passing along news in under 140 characters. News stations and newspapers now have Twitter and Facebook accounts in an attempt to stay relevant in today’s society. By the time the six o’clock evening news airs in Hawaii, most people have already read and processed the day’s news via Twitter, Facebook, and even the same news agency that is airing the broadcast. Difficult to keep up with something that was created to provide instant results.
Maybe that is where everything has gone wrong for the traditional ways we once got our news. We have become a society of instant gratification and instant knowledge. The more we know and the quicker we learn it has become the ultimate goal. Phone companies are constantly making faster networks. Internet providers are always looking to speed up your internet connections. Where does that leave the daily print media. How can they literally keep up?