Friday, January 26, 2007

Could people’s extreme selection lead to self-centrism, alienation to news, and the downfall of journalism?

According to a recent issue of Time magazines, “the song remains the same, the way we listen to it is changing (Howe, 2007, p.60).” This analogy provides the profound thought that we live in the edge of high technology where iPods, iPhones, TiVo, Google, YouTube, Wikipedia, Blogs, MySpace become part of this new era. The tools available in the market for users lead to a greater customization, selection and convenience (Howe). Human beings want to be able to choose for themselves. As an example, it is common these days to notice the decline of people listening to the radio. People don’t want to have someone selecting what they should hear, they want to select what they want to hear and this is where iPods take place. Another example is TiVo, which is a digital video recorder allowing users to capture television programming for later viewing and to skip commercials and unwanted programs.
From these examples it is easy to assume that traditional mass media sources of news and information, such as newspapers and television networks, are being increasingly substituted by users who trust and use alternative media sources (Christie, 2003, p.0). These sources are available mainly through the internet and the problem is the lack of expertise, trustworthiness and credibility (Christie). For instance, one does not need to have a diploma in journalism, they just write freely in blogs. Or anyone can post a video at YouTube about anything. The author of a Time magazine article called “The Beast with a Billion Eyes” wrote the influences of the videos posted at YouTube. “On the Web, anyone with a digital camera has the power to change history (Poniewozik, 2007, p.63). Steven Johnson, the author of “The Ghost map,” wrote in his article “It’s all about us” that some “amateurs are filling the vacuum created by everything the old media chose to ignore (Johnson, 2007, p.80).”
Additionally, Johnson described and analyzed the consequences of this freedom to publish and people’s selection. “There is undeniably a vast increase in the sheer quantity and accessibility of pure crap… (Johnson).” This high-tech era can signal the end of quality and professionalism (Johnson). With this thought in mind, one can be dragged into becoming “alienated” from good news and people are exposed to what they think is news or relevant to them. The problem is that our society has become extremely vain and too concern with itself. Brian Williams, the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, explained how U.S. citizens have made the media core more democratic but it had its cost. “Americans have decided the most important person in their lives is… them, and our culture is now built upon that idea (Williams, 2007, p.78).”
Although high-technology has contributed to a diverse of good outcomes among them it brought the “power to the people (Grossman, 2007, p.42).” Lev Grossman, a Time magazine writer, said the media is controlled by us, ordinary individuals who can be described as citizens of the new digital democracy (Grossman).
This self-centered notion has manipulated the actions and lives of many. Selfishness has become a huge problem leading to obscure consequences where individuals no longer will be interested in picking up a magazine or newspaper to read, that might be too ancient for them. No better words could’ve been stated to the problem with this high-technology of today: “The danger just might be that we miss the next great book or the next great idea, or that we fail to meet the next great challenge… because we are too busy celebrating ourselves and listening to the same tune we already know by heart (Williams).”

Work Cited

1-Christie, Thomas. (2003). Conference Papers -- American Association for Public Opinion Research, 2003 Annual Meeting, Nashville, TN, 0.
2-Grossman, Lev. (2007). Power to the people. Time magazine, 168(26), 42.
3-Howe, Jeff. (2007). Your web, your way. Time magazine, 168(26), 60.
4-Johnson, Steven. (2007). It’s all about us. Time magazine, 168(26), 80.
5-Poniewozik, James. (2007). The beast with a billion eyes. Time magazine, 168(26), 63.
6-Williams, Brian. Enough about you. Time magazine, 168(26), 78.

1 comment:

Sam Scorup said...


Good article. Very true stuff.
Hey! Beware of Googlezon!