Where’s the Time to Think in 24/7 Media?

24/7 news

Is anyone else exhausted by 24/7 media? Is there really that much to say every day? Rather let me try that again: Are there that many important things to say each day?

Bustle is old news. It happened a few weeks ago, which is the equivalent of a century  in terms of the Internet, but I can’t deny that it got me thinking. Aside from its absurd mission statement giving women permission to have a myriad of interests (most of which are still purchasable from a store), what particularly stood out is that no matter what time of day you visit the site, there will always be new content. To which I say, “Really?”

Do people just not sleep anymore? I realize the Internet is global and despite the East Coast of the U.S.’ belief, the world does not revolve around our time zone, but is middle-of-the-night celebrity news really crucial? Couldn’t the 604th article of outrage about Miley Cyrus wait until morning? I understand that breaking news waits for no one, so I give the true news sites a full pass, but is every other odd site honor-bound to have something up within seconds as well?

Personally, I think original thought takes a bit of time (I minored in philosophy, so no surprise that I like to ponder things). I know I’m not the only one either. When we pitch stories for LD each week, the breaking “news” pieces get pushed to the back burner, because all my writers want to sit back, research it, think it through, and then form an opinion. Reactionary posts may make us more relevant and at the top of the Google search, but it doesn’t always mean we have said anything worth reading. In my eyes, that’s what Twitter is for- the instantaneous vomiting of public opinion.

The latest debacle in the media over Miley Cyrus’ performance at the VMA’s last Sunday are a prime example. Within moments there were articles lamenting “This is trashy and slutty,” “Stop slut-shaming she’s a sexual being – lay-off,” and “Well, that was absurdly racist.” Each is its own gut opinion, the kind you’d normally be yelling at your TV, not printing. As the story evolved, sub-genres fell out of each core thread, spinning an absurd, deliberately shocking (and album-selling) performance by a very young woman into the biggest story of the week. Syria is using chemical weapons on its people, the U.K. and the U.S. are debating military action, and the United Nations Security Council is split down the middle, but the media are falling over themselves to have the most possible repetitive outrage over some off-key booty-shaking.

Again, I find myself having to ask, did anyone stop to think “Is this really important? Am I saying anything meaningful into the racket?” For some, yes: I learned more about race perceptions than I have in quite some time, which, while I still found what prompted the discussion to be ridiculous, it did bring less often-heard opinions to the forefront. However the early-morning news shows having broadcasters trying to “twerk,” I can’t say added much to the general good. I shouldn’t ever have to scroll past multiple photos of a pop-star’s allegedly newsworthy tongue to get to a discussion about impending warfare on the front page.

If we were still exclusively dependent on print news would any of this had been noteworthy? Probably not, and the same side of me that lamented the sale of Washington Post is nostalgic for the days when we were perhaps a little less informed 24/7. Back when the latest thing to be outraged about wasn’t at our fingertips, and we had to wait until a story was fully baked before being sent off to readers. We may not have been as instantly informed, but I’d argue we still knew more—our brains had a little less clutter in them, and writers had time to think before they informed.

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Now we’re all just babbling into the abyss, all day, every day.

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Make sure to tweet me @litdarling about the absurdity of complaining about the Internet…on the Internet.

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Photo by Nico Nordstrom


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