September 11, 2010

Some People Still Don’t Get It

My sister Judy, who is in her 60s, is tech savvy and computer savvy. She loves Facebook, so she’s doing the social media thing, too. But she doesn’t get it. She doesn’t understand the game-changing times that are shaping our world today. More specifically, she doesn’t understand that there is a communications revolution going on.

Judy and I chatted on the phone yesterday. Suddenly, she started ranting about Rev. Terry Jones and his church in Florida. Here’s her point: this puny church wouldn’t have stirred up the world over its plans to burn the Quran if the media had ignored the good reverend. I’ve been defending the news media for decades and I went on the attack. I explained that sometimes actions have consequences and it’s news when they do. My point: it was legitimate news because people could die if the church followed through on its plans. But my sister kept making the same point – it was all the media’s fault – and I realized she was stuck in the 20th century. I had to explain that mainstream media doesn’t necessarily matter in big controversies anymore. All Rev. Jones had to do to send his message to the world was type one short sentence on Facebook or Twitter and post it. That’s all it would take. The news media would just be along for the ride, not creating the stir but reporting on it

My sister still didn’t get it and she’s an active participant in the digital age. I wonder how many smart, educated people don’t know what’s going on and don’t truly understand that our lives have fundamentally changed forever.

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