Two hundred and ten billion e-mails are sent each day.
There are more than 70 million blogs and 150 million Web sites today, expanding at a rate of approximately ten thousand an hour.
But are we really more informed? Are we getting a wider range of news?
CJR‘s Bree Nordenson has a great piece that unpacks these questions and looks into how the new journalism paradigm has to change to stay relevant (hint: less generating, more filtrating).
Studies show that the massive inflow of information is making readers repel news for its uncomfortable ubiquity – it’s fatiguing (click “mark all as read” in Google reader, anyone?).
I have to admit, there’s something really gratifying about reading a newspaper. Its space and information are finite. There are no links to other blogs that link to other blogs that link to New York Times stories. It feels complete. I can read multiple paragraphs without my attention drifting off to a gchat ring. But, c’mon, I want up-to-the-minute updates!
The tweets, blog updates, RSS rolls, and ceaseless e-mail alerts lead to what Nordenson calls “self-asphyxiation.”
“In order to garner audience attention and maintain financial viability, media outlets are increasingly concerned with the ‘stickiness’ of their content.”
Another symptom of this straining media environment is “nichification.”
“As information proliferates, meanwhile, people inevitably become more specialized both in their careers and their interests … shared public knowledge is receding, as is the likelihood that we come in contact with beliefs that contradict our own.”
OK, you get it, the Internet is cutting our collective attention spans and making our news consumption more Huffington Postian and less expansive. But what hasn’t the Internet changed? Our insatiable information craving. Nordenson reports:
“’Oddly enough, information is one of the things that in the end needs brands almost more than anything else,” explains Paul Duguid. ‘It needs a recommendation, a seal of approval, something that says this is reliable or true or whatever. And so journalists, but also the institutions of journalism as one aspect of this, become very important.’”’
My job in a few years? To totally assure you that information is, like, true.