Many have claimed that the death of Osama Bin Laden has ushered in the death of modern news media. I definitely cannot argue with this point. If you so happened to tune into twitter on Sunday night you found yourself in a whirlwind of conversation, discovery, and a bit of chaos. Twitter and television have shifted roles. Where as Twitter use to be the background noise, television has provided the background noise to the conversations that are taking place online.
I think we can all agree that Twitter is changing the way we get our news, but what I do not hear people talking about is how we discuss the news. Twitter has changed the way that we not only get our news but it has changed the way we think and discuss the news.
Let me illustrate with the way my Sunday night and Monday went down.
After hearing about the breaking news I immediately fired up Twitter for iPhone and started to read what my friends were saying about what was taking place. As I followed the conversation for the next two hours I engaged in conversation, started and then deleted tweets, took part in a blog conversation, and sent out several retweets. It made that night even more memorable and engaging. But the interesting thing is that after about two hours of discussing a historical moment I didn’t speak of it again.
See I think twitter has changed the way we discuss news. Previously, we had to wait to discuss events that happened on the weekend. We had to wait to ask friends where they were on Septemeber 11th or what they were doing when they found out Kennedy was shot. That was the way traditional media worked. We got it from the television or print and then had to wait until we could discuss it with friends or family. But twitter has changed it all. Now we have immediate access to friends and family. And not only do we have access we have immediate opinion.
I quickly realized this to be true when I talked to my dad on Monday. Neither of us mentioned the news. In fact my day was void of this news. It wasn’t discussed in a later conversation that day with Brewster, nor with my friend Matt or my friends at the coffee shop. It took me until 7pm that night when I met up for dinner with Jeremy and Derrian to have the conversation on the historic news.
We definitely live in a time where we receive noise I mean news at the speed of light.
But I wonder what the instant gratification of news has done to us?
It seems that in some ways it has caused us to want more. It has caused us to move on quicker, to process less, and to find that next fix. I love the information highway that is twitter. It is my place to find inspiration, conversation, and reaction, but sometimes I wonder if we would do better to turn off the noise and spend more time with what we are reading, thinking, and hearing? I wonder that in a time with thousands of resources we have come become dumber? that even with everything at our fingertips we are worse off then before?