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This morning, I learned that David Bowie had died via a push notification to my iPhone, this information was with me within seconds of it being announced by his family. I didn’t need to read a newspaper or switch on the television and wait for a news report. This is now the de facto way in which I largely consume media – things have changed. Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, turn and face the strain… (to quote Bowie himself).
Since I’ve been able to read, I’ve always carried around reading matter. As a child, there were comics, and Look In Magazine provided news and posters of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. As a teen, Smash Hits taught me (via Morrissey and Howard Jones) that Meat is Murder and also piqued my interest in design. As an adult, before online news became mainstream, I got all my info about technology and Apple from publications such as MacUser. All of these magazines are now relics of the past, victims to the way news and entertainment has evolved and gone online.
I do miss print publications, but probably wouldn’t change the way things are now. I love that I can get everything I want, and equally love how I can filter out what doesn’t interest me – football, reality tv ‘celebrity’ dross etc. I also love that everything is everywhere, when and where I require it. I am largely in control of the media I consume.
I was travelling into the city centre recently and looked around to notice that every single person, thankfully with the exception of the bus driver, was staring into a mobile telephone. There is a lot of criticism of this, people bemoan the fact that we have lost the ability to communicate, nobody looks up anymore or notices what’s important. I disagree. There’s a horribly snobby, backward thinking judgement in this way of thinking. How do people know what I was looking at? On that journey, I signed off a piece of artwork that had been sent to me via PDF, I replied to two emails, checked how my family were doing on holiday via Facebook and caught up on the news of the day via the BBC News app.
I don’t know or care what other people were looking at. They were consuming information and interacting with the world just as I was via the media we are now lucky to have, literally in our pockets. This media unites more than it divides. Just because it’s not in a printed book or magazine doesn’t make it any less worthy in my eyes, it makes it all the more effective and powerful. I am glad that I don’t have to carry my camera, notebook, magazines, paperback and pens around any more, it’s all largely done with my iPhone. If somebody wants to look at this as a backward step, I couldn’t disagree more.
Fear of the new is natural. I’ve always been curious, so I embrace these things and will try most stuff to see if it lives up to the hype. Instagram wasn’t for me but I can see how it works for others. Blogging is something that I enjoy but don’t get around to as much as I’d like. Twitter is where I get most of my instant news from now and Facebook has connected me with more friends than it has lost me!
To simply write off mobile phones off as an antisocial tool of the devil is regressive. As I get older, I hope I never fall into doing this, that’s when I will know that I am truly old, rather than just numerically. Snapchat is rubbish though.