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By Reid Wright

Ahh the public library — where degenerate bums and impressionable young children can co-exist in harmony.

I asked the aging librarian if I could get wireless.

“Yes, I have an atlas right here,” she said, rummaging in a drawer.

“I said wireless … wireless internet?”

“Oh sure,” she said with a sheepish laugh while pulling the necessary forms.

I snickered smugly to myself. Why would I need a dusty old atlas? I have the power of Google at my fingertips.

The dawn of the internet has brought about what the media dinosaurs consider an informational ice-age. Newspapers are in a financial tailspin and television news has degenerated to seizure-inducing flashes of celebrity gossip.

It’s time to evolve or die.

This abrupt transformation has shattered the old information model and changed our world in profound ways that are completely lost on the dinosaurs but are being embraced by those who can evolve into media mammals.

As journalists were banned from Iran during the turmultous election demonstrations by the Iran, the Iranian people bypassed the government clampdown using social media to reveal events that would have otherwise gone unnoticed by the global community. Traditional news outlets could only stand on the sidelines and act as an amplifier to re-broadcast online posts. 

This presents the possibility that we may no longer need the old news model.

Also, the sheer volume of information has mushroomed exponentially in the last decades. Also, the speed at which it can be accessed is lightning fast. We can now learn almost anything we want to know with a simple web search.

This will pose an interesting question for the education system in the coming years. If facts are instantly accessible by our children, is a traditional fact-cramming education necessary?

These questions and more fascinate me as someone born between the old and new. Trained in traditional journalism with my other foot in new media endeavors, I’m kind of like a Megazostrodon — the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and mammals, which sounds like a fierce and mighty Triassic monster.

"rawr"

"rawr"

It was actually a small rat-like creature who laid leathery eggs. It cowered in the shadows and likely shit itself whenever dinosaurs neared.

 

It’s a strange and exciting time to be alive. But life in Mcluhan’s global village isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. The streets are noisy, crowded and polluted. Sometimes it seems more like a global New Jersey.

With billions of voices shouting online is it really easier to be heard?

The narcotic cocaine (referred to in my industry as “breakfast”) is essentially a synthetic form of dopamine — or the chemical form of pleasure. Cocaine and dopamine are absorbed into cells naturally, but when overloaded by cocaine, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors restrict the flow of happy chemicals into the cell — numbing a person’s ability to feel pleasure.

Similarly, the daily bombardment of information could be numbing our ability to absorb and retain the knowledge needed for prosperity.

Also, with the troubles of a vast world flashing across our screens, how much can our human capacity for caring handle? It is too easy to ignore the posting on a twitter feed of someone who had a bad day and wants someone to talk to. Behind the screen of anonymity, apathy flourishes.

The digital information revolution teeters on the ever-unstable fulcrum of human emotions. It could be the dawn of a new era of global interconnectedness or degenerate to a world of digital vanity where one by one, hundreds of facebook friends stop responding until the tethers snap, and the child of the information age drifts alone into the empty void of cyberspace.

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