Growing up, I learned two very important lessons from my very opinionated parents. Number 1: the media is evil. Number 2: you can do anything you want to… if you set your mind to it and don’t mess up. For these two lovely reasons, I really enjoyed Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen’s article “The Digital Disruption.”
Contrary to the opinions of my parents, I have never hated the media. The media keeps everyone else on track. I have no doubt rampage would ensue if politicians and celebrities didn’t have someone breathing down their necks, waiting for them to mess up. As I grew older and developed a deeper interest in journalism, I learned that this concept is commonly referred to as the fourth estate. One professor I had even called the media, “the fourth branch of government.” Essentially, my professor wanted us to understand that journalists contribute to the system of checks and balances in a very unique way.
“The Digital Disruption” refers to a fifth estate, the “interconnected estate.” This “fifth branch of government” is you – anyone with access to the Internet. The Internet gives each individual a large platform with which they can share their opinions, have their voice heard; a place where they have the power to effect change.
Gone are the days when we have to sit idly by, or, in our attempt to affect change, can’t reach a large enough audience. We can catch the government off guard and tell them what we really think of them and their legislation. We can create petitions that instantly reach across the globe. With one tweet, we can start a revolution.
With all of this technology, we keep the government on their toes. I think that’s an excellent position to be in, and I like that news has become a “collaborative enterprise between news organizations and… citizen journalists.” We have the power.