President Obama said something very interesting this weekend when speaking at Hampton University. Yes he told the graduates that the world they are entering is gonna be rough. I mean he didn’t just come out and say it, but he was pretty much saying ‘Good luck on getting a job folks..‘
That in itself is worth noting, especially since he has those Goldman Sachs people around him who pretty much ripped us off and pushed us in the direction of economic enslavement.
But the thing that caught me was this quote
“You’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank all that high on the truth meter. With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, — none of which I know how to work — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation.
That quote is rich and is something I think we need to pay attention to… Working in commercial radio there’ a few tricks I’ve seen pulled program directors who wished to move an audience in a particular direction. They would simply burn you out on a song a genre. The burn out would come by over exposing something or by playing something which was obviously below the standards desired by the audience..
When I read President Obama‘s quote I kept thinking about how I’m starting to hear people say they are burnt out over all the information they can get.. They complain about Information overload. This is compounded by the fact that we now have several generations of people who only want 30 second soundbites. We’re a headline news society that has allowed us to become ‘instant experts’ on topics which we are unwilling to follow-up on..The information is disposable. Tiger Woods having multiple affairs holds the same value as a natural disaster
If you don’t believe me, ask how many of us have followed up on the situation in Haiti? Do any of us even care about what’s going on? Would your interest be peaked if we started to hear new reports on the country? My guess is many would not be interested. I recall hearing folks complaining that all this information on Haiti was too much. People were looking for escapes. The news coming out of it was cheapened by network news outlets who tried to find ways to neatly package it.
They wanted a villain, a hero, some controversy and nice ending which in reality has yet to come for the millions still sleeping in tents and barely surviving. But as far as the average person here.. We had a villain-Mother nature..and later so-called looters’. Our hero was Wyclef and all the celebrities who raised money.. later they tried to make Bill Clinton and George Bush heroes. The nice ending was we raised money and now its time to go on to the next.
The gadgets we have allow us that luxury and at a day and time where critical thinking is not be taught especially in the areas of media, after we tire of a story we push a button to distract and entertain ourselves even with the most horrific news.
Another case in point, many of us were fascinated with the size of the tornados in Mississippi the other week than we were concerned about the people killed by them. Between heated debates on immigration, the gulf coast oil spill, attempted bomb plots in Times Square and drama around financial reform, many of us have no more room to take in and react to the news about the devastating floods in Nashville. We’ve had too much information. We were so full on the neat little news packages we come to consume, by the time we surfed around to get info on the floods, it was only to be entertained. The devastation had not moved us to action or to even think critically and connect the dots to larger issues be it global warming, poverty or faulty infrastructure..
In any case I think Obama was on point with his remarks..I took from it he was saying do something with that information other then ‘be right in an on line debate’ or treat it like a perverse form of entertainment. I also took from it not to get so caught up we stop actually engaging folks and tackling important issues at hand. In short don’t let iphones and ipads become the new television and rendering us to be new age couch potatoes
Something to ponder.. And just so you know today in Haiti they are having a protest in Port Au Prince around who gets to run the government.
Here’s the link to an article I read that has a nice take on Obama’s remarks