When I went to a taping of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart they had a segment that ended up getting cut from the show. It was a segment criticizing the modern day news format of up to minute updates as opposed to researched news stories that provide an investigated story and summary of events. This balloon kid thing is one of many recent sort of stories that sums this up very well.

As soon as there was a live feed of the balloon traveling in progress it’s all that was happening. Then what happens is on the news pages they periodically update the article without changing anything that happened before which requires you to search through the article to find the new stuff. Then ultimately when the boy was found hiding in his attic the headlines of the articles got changed before the content of the articles so you had links saying “Boy found safe and sound” that went to an article with all the old news in it with rampant speculation.

I read an article recently saying that the age of email is dead because everything is all about on-the-fly live updates a la Facebook and Twitter. I get the feeling this kind of thinking is already making me sound old but I really don’t like the distraction of these things because I know how distracting the things I check manually can be. My RSS reader doesn’t update automatically anymore, I choose to reload it myself when I have time so I’m not tempted right away to read it all and I have a notification for my email. Other than that I don’t have any sort of thing on my computer that will jump up and down telling me to check it out.

Lots of times I talk to my other computer geek friends about new technologies and the conversation eventually ends with us living in a log cabin cut off from all forms of communication. I know in my heart I couldn’t do that because I’m so wired as it is, but respite from all of this is rather relaxing.


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