Volume 97 Issue 10 Oped

Google, Twitter, Vine: print sources decline in technological use

by The Juniatian Editorial Board

Extra, extra, read all about it…on your phone. With the rise of technology, digital media has taken over our lives. Younger generations (known as Millennials) find it hard to know a life without technology, and, pretty soon it seems, all print media will become an ancient art.

How do you get your information? When you have a question, where do you find the answer? How do you hear about what’s going on in the world around you? How do you form your opinion? Is it really yours?

Google knows anything and everything you’d ever want to discover. It’s easy to open up your browser and run a Google search whenever you need information. What’s going on in my world? What are other people saying about it? Oh, yeah, okay, I agree with that! Facebook says it, so it must be true. People on Twitter are angry about it, so I must be too.

Our minds have shifted and our attention spans have shrunk. Getting through a YouTube video over five minutes has become a struggle, let alone getting through a newspaper article. And if I’m acquiring the newspaper article from any other place besides the convenience of my cellphone? No, I don’t have the patience for that. You’re telling me I have to read it to find out what it’s about? I can’t just read the comment section?

The primary example: Vine. Can you believe that our minds have shrunk to the attention span of six seconds? According to Wikipedia, as of December 15, Vine has 200 million active users. The Huffington Post says, as of 2013, YouTube has 1 billion active users each month. That’s practically one out of every two people on the Internet!

We’re all guilty of web surfing for information. This editorial wouldn’t be nearly as informative without the use of the Internet, as you can see above. I wish I knew facts like that off of the top of my head, but I’m no Google!

My point isn’t that we shouldn’t use the Internet for information, it’s a great source to have. However, I do believe it should be used differently. Writing is an art, tweeting is not. An article takes craftsmanship, a tweet does not. A speech in front of millions takes courage and creativity, not your recent update about your breakfast.

News is new and quick. I get it. People want to know what’s going on as soon as it happens. I found out about the death of Bin Laden from Twitter. Twitter told me before the President of the United States even had a chance. I’ll never forget that day. The news was flashing its red “breaking news” title, saying that Obama was about to give us a very important speech. It was to be broadcasted on every channel. While wondering what was going on and waiting for the breaking news to be broken to me, I logged onto social media only to learn that everyone else already knew.

I don’t necessarily think it’s an entirely bad thing that this is how news travels nowadays. I mean, quick information is good information, am I right?

But it takes away from the art of writing. It takes away from our willingness to read an entire article to get the information. We live in a fast-paced world, people don’t stop for anything, besides to update their Facebook status, of course.

Here’s to the end of an era. Preserve these treasures as you can before they’re nothing but recycled words made into paper cups. Hold on to the smell, the print rubbing off on your fingers, the grocery store line browsing, and the bee swatting moments that make up our print media history. Because there’s nothing like a freshly printed newspaper. There’s nothing like an eye catching headline in the grocery store or a photo of an event you just couldn’t make it to this time. There’s nothing like being able to live the moments, get the entire scoop, and form your own opinions about what’s going on in your world around you. #RIPnewspapers

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