New Media: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

“Learning to Love the New Media” by James Fallows is peppered with comparisons of the old fashioned and new-aged media. Back in the day, you had a much cleaner, clearer news-based output that had a fraction of the stories, but kept serious and delivered the most important topics. Nowadays, media is traveling in everyone’s pocket, it is delivered on numerous websites by professionals and amateurs alike and the citizens of the world (often) have the right to listen to what they want to hear and shield out what they don’t like.

Whether it is a media outlet paying for pictures from a one-night stand or minute-old clips of the Egyptian riots, it is clear that technology has completely changed the face of news. You no longer wait for 6 o’clock to roll around to get your hour fix of the world’s events. Today it is a constant flow of information that is sent directly to your computer, smart phone or tablet and at the tap of a finger you can find nearly anything out. From Obama’s health care plan to the Kardashian’s swimwear, you can stay up to date on whatever it is you are interested in. Fallows outlines the positive and negative aspects to this new media.

One negative aspect to media constantly following us on our everyday lives is the concept of “distractedness”. The American Society is always distracted by what others are doing. It is apparent in every social situation these days. You go on the bus, wait in the doctor’s office, even at sporting events, and everyone is on their phones looking at what everyone else is doing. It’s as if our lives are becoming one big competition for who is doing the cooler thing. Braggadocio is creeping its way in to every post of where you are going, who you are with, etc. The days of subtlety and enjoying the moment you are in are long gone.

However with the bad comes the good. This up-to-minute data influx can mean so many great things. Where as just a decade ago it was hard to send pictures of, for example, a new born baby to your relatives, now it is a seamless process. The baby is still only minutes old and his aunt, uncle, grandfather and grandmother who all live in different states all got to see his beautiful face. A soldier overseas can communicate with his loved ones via Skype and help to ease the frightening pain of the situation. Technology is bringing us all so much closer and that is a very positive thing.

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