Fifteen years ago I had a memorable conversation with my more technically-minded brother-in-law and told him confidently that I thought the advent of the Internet Age was vastly exaggerated. Today, I was honored with Blogger of the Year by my colleagues at Morrissey & Company for my thoroughly enjoyable task of knocking out a blog every so often, apparently more frequently than any of my colleagues.
This for someone who learned his trade as a newspaperman on a manual typewriter with triple-carbon paper in a generation where there not only was no such thing as the Internet, but the doubly meaning term PC had no meaning at all and most certainly didn’t begin to describe the Personal Computer.
But I do wonder (pretty much all the time) what we have wrought with all this ubiquitous technology. When I talk about my years as a reporter to students, it seems even to me that I am giving a lecture in paleontology and that those fossilized bones belong to me and all the great reporters I worked alongside for so many years.
As we watch, the great news organizations are being supplanted by citizen journalists, bloggers, tweeters and the like. They are, as the expression goes, an Army of One, a single rifle shot that is really a fusillade of millions of other rifle shots. One telling statistic:
89% of reporters now read blogs for possible story ideas,
It used to be that the most effective way to talk to a reporter was by telephone or perhaps even via the fax machine.
These trends are undeniable (even for someone so stupid as to deny the tsunami called the Internet). Nowadays, if you aren’t talking to people through social media channels you are probably having a nice conversation with yourself.
All is not lost – we hope – for personal, direct communication, even though it is rare that one of my kids calls me on my cell phone when they have the option of texting me. Usually after the second round of texting I just call them directly because I know I am missing nuance and context or they don’t fully understand what I am badly trying to communicate.
When Morrissey & Co. started its Fosbury Flop blog earlier this year, I was not easily converted and pretty much everyone in the office knew I was probably better left on the sidelines while they dutifully hunted and gathered content to feed the insatiable appetite of this blog. I came along slowly and then found a voice that I had once developed while writing weekly newspaper columns. With a little more prompting, I took my place in queue with everyone else who helps carry the load.
Of course the small print at the bottom of the Certificate presented to me by my colleague Sarah also notes that while achieving the remarkable feat of being the Big Blogger I did so without every actually posting the blog myself. That task was taken on by Sarah in a most collegial way, and today – I think – will be no different. Perhaps this year I will actually figure out how to post this thing myself.