The “140 characters – The state of now” – a globally wondering conference by Jeff Pulver arrived in Tel-Aviv this week, and I was proud to be there, even if I couldn’t attend the full day.
As I was wandering about, saying a personal face to face hello to my work colleagues, people who I meet daily online, but only get to meet offline in such events, I thought about this thing that connects us all to this event. Teachers and students, marketing specialist and technology geeks of various sorts, journalists, writers and bloggers, artists and musicians – all were there to socially network about social networking.
Social networking, since status updates and twitter – had become indeed a “state of now” thing. The sense of immediate reach is intoxicating.
But here is the thing: the dimension of now is not really there. Now turns from “in a minute” to “a minute ago” faster then we can blink. We cling to our social networks in the constant pursuit of the illusive state of now.
Journalism is probably one of the first trades to be equally threatened and excited by this new development of the NOW. Old school journalism defined the reporter as a human channel through which the news flow from the happening to the readers, listeners or viewers. In this modern “state of now” we are all reporters.
We are creators of news, transmitters of news and consumers of news. We are also editors – having to choose from the enormous amounts of channels at our disposal. We don’t have to watch the news at 8 o’clock when they are aired in order to remain up to date. We get to watch the news sources hours earlier when someone posts a link or reveals a discussion on our networks. We get to choose when we want to consume our news, what topics really interest us, how much time to dedicate to each piece of information – and Oh! We get to talk back to the news, and not just make faces to the news anchor behind the screen.
Are we infantilizing? “We are like a very young child demanding to get our satisfaction NOW! Right NOW!”, Said Yoav Tsuker from TV channel 1. “If I need help in homework – I need it NOW!”, said Michael Matias, 13 years old, “Yesterday’s news won’t help me”.
And so the attempt to capture the moment continues.