A few days ago, whilst scouring various social media sites and news outlets, I noticed a trend that really struck me. Now it may have been the result of coincidence or a clever algorithm put together by Zuckerberg or one of his employees but there was no mistaking the constant and glaring link. Nearly all the stories I read or skimmed through had an underlying message of impatience. Be it a story about 3D printers or a road rage attack on a country road, everything led me back to this theme.
No longer can we wait for our goods to come into a shop. For better or worse the Internet has put pay to that. At the same time I notice the same restlessness and need for everything to be done quickly in most matters of daily life. I am no saint when it comes to this subject. I am renowned amongst friends for chastising anyone who dawdles at traffic lights or refuses to do the correct speed limit in appropriate areas.
It does make me wonder if society can sustain such a brutally selfish and pacey way of life for any length of time before the bubble bursts. I have no problem with the advancement of technology but on a daily basis I see that technology not only improve things and make outdated systems more convenient but streamline and minimize that which was previously well managed and thoughtful.
Take for instance the profession I aim to immerse myself in. This time next year I will be looking for a job somewhere in the field of journalism. Whilst I believe the Internet has done wonders in terms of reach and accessibility it does seem like, at times, it has diluted the artistry in journalistic writing. Nowadays there seem to be more Buzzfeed type, list stories and misleading, click bait headlines than ever before. I appreciate there is a time and place for this sort of journalism but social media is awash with it and for me it devalues stories of importance and encourages what my lecturers like to call ‘churnalism’.
One of my most ridiculous and often infuriating guilty pleasures is reading comments left by readers. In doing so I have encountered an awful lot of bad feeling towards the kind of stories I have previously mentioned. Great institutions of the press and newspaper industry are being told exactly what is thought of their new story formats in no uncertain terms by the readership and online audience but it appears the complaints are falling on deaf ears.
Many editors will argue that the click bait stories provide the advertising revenue needed for the sustainability of hard copy newspapers and that those seeking more in depth comment and analysis are free to purchase a copy of their respective newspapers to obtain this level of sophistication. All of that is well and good but smacks of a sense of arrogance and mistreatment of online readership.
As a student of the profession I am probably putting my career’s life at jeopardy by writing this (a thought that has only just occurred to me) but I have been struggling for artistic inspiration of late and I live by the mantra that if I have something to write then I write it. Probably not the best read for any prospective future employers and I have been warned in the past by those already in the game to take care about what I write about within this blog. No doubt in a year’s time I will wish I had taken heed of such advice but for now I am just grateful for the opportunity to pen (read type) my thoughts.
On that sombre note I think I shall finish up. Maybe next time I will find something less controversial to write about. Maybe..