18 March 2011
The Hyperlocalization of News
Given the following:
All humans are enmeshed in social networks. For evidence of this see the popularity of recent films about social networks.
Networks = Television. (Television networks.)
All people are insatiably hungry for news about their friends and enemies.
TV news and other so-called old media have crews of experienced reporters and news producers whose careers have been destroyed by the internet, just looking for something to do.
Increasingly ubiquitous internet (the so-called mobile web) on continuously better, faster, and cheaper devices, with a comprehensive cloud-based service platform allowing news to be produced and consumed 24/7/365.
It can easily be foreseen that:
The news audience will be carved into smaller and smaller niches until eventually there will be a 24 hour news channel devoted specifically to each and every existing social network.
Rather than ask your friends what they are doing, or taking the time to post and review those troublesome 'status updates', you will simply tune in to your local news network to get (in video, podcast, or interactive raspberry form/flavor) a neverending stream of professionally produced news reports about the people you care about most. At the same time, as you check in on your friends, several cameras are trained on you and you are being interviewed for an in-depth feature that will air live, and then be repeated on a continuous loop for the rest of eternity, with updates every twenty minutes on the half-hour.
At first it will mainly be news, but soon enough a class of pundits will arise, offering weekly half-hour roundtables with commentary and analysis thoughtfully dissecting the slightest minutiae of you and everyone you know (with, however, a somewhat light touch). Afterschool specials will recount touching moments that will teach life lessons about everyone to everyone else, non stop. Expect crews of reporters following your every move, impromptu press conferences after every fruit salad or bowel movement, and so forth.
For the Brad Pitts and Mortimer Stokeses of this world the change may be small and perhaps even imperceptible. But for you and I and those of our ilkness, there will be an adjustment period. We may need to hire a media coach, and perhaps a personal bubble-wrapper, as we learn to negotiate the tricky contingencies of modern celebrity.
It's a good thing we have all these handy devices to connect seamlessly to the ubiquitous internetwork, because we are all going to be a lot busier in the future, and the future is getting closer and closer with each passing day. Man it never stops, and neither must we.