Patrick Pexton says that the metro editor for The Washington Post has made social media a requirement for all his reporters. Why? A case in point is the recent news that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner might be resigning. Pexton writes:
“If you’re a print reader, you probably read about Geithner’s possible departure over your Friday morning coffee. But if you’re an online reader, you knew about it about 14 hours earlier. And that could be important if you’re an investor in New York, Tokyo, or Shanghai or if you’re a Senate staffer thinking about confirmation hearings or a Republican staffer planning on how to counter President Obama’s eventual nominee.”
What is true for the news business is more and more true of other professions as well. Social media is becoming somewhat of a necessity for many fields. The times they are a changing, but I’m sure you already knew that. Read the rest here.
“The potential downside here is a diminution of quality. If reporters are setting aside a portion of their days for social media, that leaves less time for thinking and traditional reporting. And if the chase in journalism becomes one for the greatest number of page views, Twitter followers and Facebook friends, instead of the great story, we all lose.”
Marshall McLuhan warned in the 60’s that the medium is the message. He said that with every new technology we have an extension of ourselves and a corresponding amputation. So, with every new technology, something is gained and something is lost and the message is affected by the medium that carries it. I like the way that this article also spoke of what is lost in this new arrangement: thoughfulness. Are we moving from news to just reaction?
I think the way to regain perspective here is to follow a story over time, as it develops. We can gain perspective if we learn to look at the development of a story over a week or a month instead of in the moment. This is also true as we use social media in our ministries and theological discussions. The thoughtfulness can still be there, but it is just now participatory instead of individual to the writer.
social media is a bane and indictment upon the church today.
Like most technological things, social media can be both a blessing and a curse.