Modern social media and the transformation of news reporting. Part 1.

22 01 2015
Calvin and Hobbes Comic Strip, January 22, 2015 on GoComics.com.

Calvin and Hobbes Comic Strip, January 22, 2015 on GoComics.com.

 

Calvin and Hobbes Comic Strip, January 22, 2015 on GoComics.com.


I think it’s time I address a certain opinion of mine.  Bear in mind that this is my own opinion and in no way reflects the opinions of that of the NFL®… wait wrong caveat.  Anyway… moving on.

I’ve had, in recent months, had the opportunity to listen to the radio, a lot more than I had ever expected.  This is greatly due to the general apathy towards plugging in my phone to my cars sound system as I travel to and from work and school.  This has led me to listening to some interesting radio commentary.  Mostly about either news related to the hilariously stupid things people do, to the more serious: seriously grotesquely stupid things people do… which seems to be most news these days.  I know many of you already know my opinions on “shock-news”, and if you don’t: I abhor it (also… I need to put a dictionary in here because I seem to enjoy using unusual words).  The Idea of targeting your audience based on what will shock them into reading your article is ridiculous and I believe that it panders to the uninformed.  However, there is some legitimacy to modern news, as I believe that people should be informed of current events.  Also however, again, I feel like “current events” have become too commonplace as we are now way too connected, and have lost the ability to communicate on a higher level.  Here’s what I mean by this:

Here in the modern age we have become accustomed to the ability to share information so freely that even a passing thought should be shared (i.e. status updates and tweets).  The instantaneous nature of these “updates” leads people to brashly inform their audience without proper thought and care put in.  This also leads to these “shock-news” events I spoke of earlier.  Our senses have been dulled by the over-stimulation of information and we feel the urge to “shock” our senses with new and startling information.  Unfortunately, as I observe this phenomenon from, what I hope to be a far-off distance, I see it seeping into other media forms outside of social networking.  In a way, I wish I could un-invent the internet, and reinstate newspapers, television/radio news, and good ole’ fashioned letters as the formal means of gathering accurate information.

One reason for this is that much like a doctor or a pilot, journalists really are trained in their profession.  I wouldn’t trust an internet source for medical diagnosis (there’s an app for that by the way), so why should I for accurate information on an event?  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read an article of information on (let’s say for fairness sake) “Tublfacetwitagramterist-tube”, about a current event and people always… ALWAYS seem to jump to some conclusion, and within an hour or so, as they collect further information they seem to have to backtrack their statements.  So between preemptive conclusions and trying to shock me into reviewing your article, I’ve grown bitterly disinterested and jaded against news sources in general.  Ironically this observation that I make is based on a “first-pass” view of the situation and may (or may not) be jumping to conclusions.  But I feel that many of you may agree with this viewpoint.

Lastly, before I try and conclude on a high note, I would like to note that it seems like every opinion on every subject needs to be expressed by every individual.  This is, I think, due to, once again, the instantaneous ability to post on social media.  If I may label this phenomena in my own words I would label it as: “unneeded, opinionated sentiment”.  Or in other words: every individual has an opinion of something, even if that opinion is: “I choose to ignore it, as I deem it irrelevant to my current state of being”.  And in this over-saturated culture, we feel the necessity to express every thought and idea in some way or another (mostly through “social media”).   I’m actually rather torn between pushing that “publish” button and deleting this whole post, as I feel like the irony would drive me mad.

The good news is that I see hope for the future of news media.  There are indeed advantages to mass communication through mixed social media.  Such as; the ability to receive feedback (if you filter through the un-needed banter of people’s poorly-structured criticisms and un-reserved opinions) or; the ability ensure that you’re reaching the audience you intend to reach.   I do in-fact value the ability for people to create useful dialog about current events and philosophies of life.  Unfortunately, the anonymity of the World Wide Web, has created an environment for people to express opinions without first, pondering the outcome of their thought.  For as I see it: Thoughts have results.  If you think something, something comes of it.

As I type without regard to maintaining subject matter, I realize that I mentioned earlier about radio programming before I got off on one of my normal social media tangents.  And that is: that radio has very recently adopted this idea of inundation of useless information.  Political opinion talk shows have, for an even longer time, been “hot topics” and although I listen to them rarely myself, when my grandparents play them in my presence I’m almost impressed by their (the radio host’s) disinterest in others’ opinions.  I a little put off by the fact that when people call in they (specifically Rush Limbaugh), rarely let the caller finish their statement, but other than that, I almost admire the idea of: “your opinion is not important anymore”.  It brings to mind that opinions are just that: opinions; and that they don’t necessarily need to be addressed by everyone.

On the same vein, there’s a radio show that I really like to listen to, that’s all about cynicism.  And although I really enjoy it, I’ve realized that they, even on the radio, have a knack for creating this “shock news”.  For example: they like to talk about some “interesting” story about a fat person in Wal-Mart “and you’ll never believe what they did next!”… Or they’ll pander to the “culture stories”, which nowadays, seems to always be about something someone or some animal did, that’s cute.

So now inlays the irony… as I push that publish/post button; I realize that my opinions on opinion-generated news and information are just that: Ironic.  But hopefully, unlike modern mass communication trends, my opinion is not just a fleeting thought posted instantly and anonymously, but rather: well-constructed and meaningful.  With the intent of thoughts bringing about useful results.

That being said, I encourage you, if you have a counter-point to bring up, construct a well thought-out idea and contact me about it.  And before I begin another rant/tangent on the use of “buzz words”, I hope to leave you all with some value garnered from my typographic ramblings.

 

Thank you,

Kyle

 

P.S. If you haven’t notice by now, my choice of words may seem sesquipedalian in nature (sesquipedalian meaning: a person who uses long words).  But I rather enjoy expressing my full use of the English dictionary.  And as such, I see no reason to create content that includes vocabulary of a higher-level education.  It is in no way an intention of seeming smarter than I actually am or making my writing seem somehow more important… it’s just how I choose to write.  If you feel like my choice of words is snobbish, unnecessary or, dare I say, grandiose; please… *sigh* leave your opinion in my inbox, as I would love to have an educated conversation with you about it.  Otherwise I could also suggest expanding your vocabulary, or read something set for a lower reading level.  I would also like to note, lastly, that: No, I didn’t use a thesaurus to replace words at random, and, for the most part, was intentional in my word choice.  Thank you.

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