By John Asante
Back in 1995, Clifford Stoll, astronomer and author of "Silicon Snake Oil: Second Thoughts on the Information Highway," wrote an op-ed for Newsweek on "why the web won't be nirvana." (Of course, this first ran in the magazine.)
His apprehensiveness to trust this "new" technology criticizes nearly all up-and-coming uses of the Web. As I read through his diatribe, this product of Generation Y found these lines to be the most humorous:
Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth in no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works...Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we'll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Intenet. Uh, sure.
Uh, sure, indeed. Fast forward fifteen years to 2010, and Stoll stands corrected. Many of us now think about how we can access the news -- and buy books and chat with friends -- in the best and fastest possible way. More-than-likely-with a computer. Some of us use an iPhone or other mobile devices to stay abreast of topics, while others prefer holding the thing that is "red-and-white-and-black-all-over." No two people search for news exactly the same way, but the one tool we all utilize is the Internet.
And according to a report released today from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, a whopping 92 percent of Americans use multiple platforms to get their news... and 61 percent get theirs online on a daily basis. To sum it up, the report discusses how the Internet and mobile techologies are changing the ways in which we gather news. The consumption of news in general has become more social than ever, which is evident by these three p's:
Portable: 33% of cell phone owners now access news on their cell phones.
Personalized: 28% of internet users have customized their home page to include news from sources and on topics that particularly interest them.
Participatory: 37% of internet users have contributed to the creation of news, commented about it, or disseminated it via postings on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.
Hmmm... I wonder if our dear friend Stoll has seen these results. After all, he now sells blown-glass Klein bottles on -- where else, but -- the Web. Ah, technology! Anyways, if you'd like to check out a full report from the Center, click here.
One last note, and I'll leave you to disseminate this message as you please. What's your daily routine for checking the news?