I’ve been thinking a lot about the way we consume news. It’s no secret we millennials get most of our news now from social media. We have abandoned the traditional ways of sitting on the couch to catch the 6 o’clock prime time recaps of the day.
It used to be that when the evening news came on, you believed it. When Katie Couric or Brian Williams anchored nightly programs, you believed them.
The way we digest information is different now. There used to be a distinction between news, editorial, entertainment, etc — now the lines are blurred, jumbled together into one convenient 24/7 stream.
At any given day of the week we innocently and routinely check our phones, only then to suddenly see disturbing news that the U.S. has bombed Syria and Afghanistan, or that there was yet another school shooting but this time at a San Bernardino elementary school.
Having grown up witnessing 9/11, Iraq & Afghanistan Wars, and now ISIS, our generation has grown quiet a thick skin for stomaching horrible events and ruthless violence. In part, this has made us a tough group who is able to deal with and face almost anything that we see or encounter.
You can also argue though, that the constant exposure to violent crimes has become part of our daily life and that normalization, has led us to become numb in a way.
Events that should stop us in our tracks, more often than not, hold our attention for a few minutes and we’re back to business as usual. We feel bad for a moment, maybe post a #prayfor___ tweet and continue on with favoriting and retweeting our normal mundane everyday twitter stuff like a funny meme or new song that just dropped. The next day or week comes and it’s on to the next thing.
Are we becoming desensitized to the news? To really, really shitty news?
Take a school shooting for example or the bombing in Syria, these events “trend” #1 on Twitter most of the day. As the day dies down though, new top “trends” like TV shows, The Real Housewives of Atalanta or Better Call Saul take their place in rank… in the same exact #1 spot as a bombing or shooting. When we treat something that’s not normal the same way you would something that is normal, it will be reacted to and dealt with as such.
It’s way too soon to tell what the impacts of social media and 24/7 news will be on us as a society and culture. Maybe it does nothing at all. Maybe we just adapt to a new way of consuming information.
Maybe I just have too much time on my hands and am over analyzing this. Maybe I just need to turn off my news notifications, log off twitter more often and shut up about the whole thing.
But, maybe slowly and over time, we become more and more desensitized to horrible events and the only way we stop for longer than a few minutes is when the new event is bigger, louder, and more explosive than the last… and that’s a scary thought.
Is it just me?! Leave your thoughts belo0owW.