by Paula on May 4, 2011

How do you like your News in the morning?

The events at the weekend over the reported assassination of Osama Bin Laden made me stop in my tracks for more reasons than the obvious. I became aware, that without any conscious decision on my part, that the way I consume my News has changed.

When I was younger, the News was something I stumbled on and watched when I was interested but wasn’t a part of my daily life. This changed the day Princess Diana died. I lived on my own at the time, and I got up, happily went about my morning chores and just before lunch drove over to visit my parents, singing along to CDs happily all the way. I breezed in and called out a cheery “Hello” to my Dad, asking him how he was and his reply, in a tone most unlike him, was “Ok, considering the shocking news”

I had no idea at all what he was referring to and in some kind of disbelief at my ignorance he recounted the death of Princess Diana as was being reported in those early stages, and showed me the coverage on every channel. I was stunned and sat down to watch it on the TV to take it all in. I was heading off straight after this short visit to the pub where I worked on Sunday lunchtimes behind the bar and was glad I hadn’t breezed in there on a completely different page to everyone else. Luckily I now knew and had arrived in the same frame of mind as the others around me and was able to join in the conversations and disbelief by the punters in the pub.

It lead me to realise that this lack of awareness of what’s happening in the world can lead to extreme inappropriateness in behaviour, causing distress, as well as a sense of isolation from the way people around you are feeling and reacting. I resolved then that I would always check the news in the morning to bring myself up to date on the key events.

I never was one to buy a newspaper. In the early 90’s I used to read the paper at work at lunchtimes, then this evolved to watching the News on TV. Later years brought about the advent of 24 hour News Channels and Internet sites with the ability to consume your news whenever you wanted, and more recently it’s a quick check on the iphone app in the morning to scan the headlines.

It’s only over the last few months that I realise that I have gone from being someone who uses Twitter for Business and Communication to someone who uses it for News. It was only this weekend when I realised how much I had come to depend on Twitter for the latest news and opinion, up to date facts, questions over inegrity, real life accounts, and the all important ability to question and contribute to the discussions.

I did my usual quick check of the iphone, saw the headline ‘Osama Bin Laden is Dead’ and then went immediately to Twitter to find the Tweets from Barack Obama, the Twitter Stream from someone who witnessed the events first hand, contributions from News Channels, opinions and further information from people I follow and respect.

I noticed others who were finding out via Twitter before any News Channel and then going to the News sites to get more information. The opposite way around to me but with Twitter still offering a vital connection in this thirst for up-to-date News.

The advantages Twitter has is that the people using it can say what they want, and do! It has not had to be written, checked, verified and then published, it offers immediate insight and information. The downsides are that because it’s not been checked and verified then some of what you read is not fact, but opinion and so you are getting more of a mood, an outpouring of feeling, and it has to be treated as such.

It’s clear that even the News channels are understanding the value of this real-time stream of information as it’s now becoming a more common part of News programmes for reference to Tweets or Facebook posts when referring to a news story.

So what about you? How do you like your News in the morning, and have you too noticed a change in the way your source it?

{ 1 comment }

Kevin Leighton May 5, 2011 at 9:37 am

The interesting point that stands out for me is the transition from “pull” news to “push” news. As you say, you don’t have to go find the news any more it is pushed out to you. If you are subscribing to an official news source in your channel then the official news and links will come to you, and even if you don’t subscribe to news sources then no doubt somebody will be talking about the main news events anyway.

So what does this mean? Even if you use social media for purely social reasons (as in staying in contact with your friends and acquaintances) you will almost certainly be more aware of the news and what is going on around you even if you ultimately decide not to follow up on the detail.

I see this as a positive as this means that people will be more informed.

Today in the UK it is a voting day and I have never seen so many ‘ordinary people’ using their 140 Twitter characters to give their opinion on why you should vote. These reside alongside the tweets from the county councils with links to their web sites where you can go for the results as they happen.

It’s a changing world out there and events will happen which you may choose to ignore, but now that really is a choice you make because to ignore them you have to have known about them, and if you have social media you almost certainly do.

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