Sunday, March 21, 2010

Shifting Back To A New Center

My mornings always start with a cup of coffee.

Two creams and two sugars.

And my computers web browser.

I like to wake up by reading in my favorite website haunts – like Ian Aspin's ReallyGoodThinking and Pat Caputo's Open Book Sports Blog. Both are very talented content providers – sharing their expertise with me freely.

I get my updates on my friends on facebook. I see what the people I find interesting on twitter have to say.

And then I jump to the local papers headlines to see what's happening around town.

Funny, because the local paper is usually sitting on my front porch as I log into the online version.

Then I jump into Pat Caputo's blog to see what he is talking about.

I check my emails and see if I have any comments on my head stuffing blogs.

Then I grab another coffee and I get ready for my day.

This morning ritual of checking my computer for what's new in the world hasn't really changed much over the last decade – except perhaps for what I'm reading.

It used to be that I checked my emails, and any news I subscribed to.

It used to take about tem minutes. Then I'd go get the paper and another cup of coffee.

Now it takes about three quarters of an hour. My coffee far from warm when I'm done.

Now before I get to work, I have a fair idea of how my friends are. What the trend of the day is – and perhaps even gain a little inspiration to start the day with.

Times are changing.

Over the last week, I have noticed that I actually just grab my iPhone to do all this. But it's just not as comfortable reading from that tiny screen yet. Convenient yes, but comfortable? No.

If you're reading this, most likely your way of getting up to speed with your own version of the daily planet happenings is very similar to mine. Perhaps the when and where is the only difference.

The shift has begun. For some this ritual is brand new.

The decade before this one found me sitting on the living room couch with my cup of coffee, getting my news from the television morning news, the paper open on the couch beside me.

The morning news is still on the television – available for me to check. And the paper still comes to the house – mostly for the ad flyers my wife needs to plan our weekly budgeted purchases.

My television now has some thousand channels available to be watched – news stations designed by program directors to feed me what I need to know by my interest in business, finance, or political perspective. But I don't use that. I get the news I am interested in online – and in the order I want to absorb it.

In fact now, before I even hit the shower, before I even lay the cereal bowls out for the girls to get their morning started – I know that an old buddy in Atlanta is participating in a fishing derby on Lake Lanier, and that another friend in Miami is off to do a photo-shoot in some beautiful location in Miami, and yet another friend just took off in a plane to another destination for work, or vacation.

That's worthy news – to me.

They may include photos –or a video – to let me share the experience.

I can't get that from the television's morning news show.

The television wants to tell me about what's happening with people I don't know. Paris Hilton's dog, or Brittany Spears boyfriend, or who from American Idol is favored to win. Somebody must be interested in that stuff – but that somebody isn't me.

I do still find great value in Sports Center on the sport network. I'm interested in that. But I can get more information in the time of my morning coffee consumption by checking for specific Detroit Tigers bloggers and stats sites.

I guess the shift I am talking about – as I see it anyway – is in how I can streamline my approach to getting up to speed.

But the downside is that sometimes I miss out on interesting items that occur outside peripheral vision of my little pinholes of interest.

You can't find out about things you don't know about by simply typing "What's interesting to me?" into a Google search box.

There are some out there that complain that we are passing by the services of the truly talented in the world by approaching this new media in the way that I am describing. That we are not reading the best news content – or not reading the best authors – or not being entertained by the best entertainers.

Their argument is that this new media allows mediocre content to take away the audience away from the truly talented content producers.

As I see it, if your truly talented – people will find you – on whatever media you are deploying your service – and they will show their appreciation to you by loyally returning for more of whatever it is that you are dishing out. Until what you dish out no longer is interesting.

Then they are off to the next interesting person.

Just like the holder of the television's remote control.

There are no more the medias controlled only by the big three networks – giving you only what they feel will get the biggest viewing audience – fitting their programming to best match the median interests of their audience.


That being said, one could look at facebook and twitter as the biggest of the two new media networks – and you are trapped only seeing information on these sites in the means they have determined the common median of their audience wants to see it.

Perhaps the shift is simply that the pendulum is swinging back to the middle – with Facebook and Twitter taking the place of the major television networks?

You only get a person's recent status – on twitter limited to one hundred and forty characters or less. On facebook you have to filter out the constant updates as to how your friends are doing playing the facebook games like Mafia Wars or whatever.


Maybe the big shift is just back to whatever best pleases the median interests of the public?

But in a much more specific way? Only from who you want to hear from.

Sometimes change seems to occur to make things more like they used to be.

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