In the recent Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent death and apprehension of the alleged bombers, we did not turn on our television once. All of my news came via Twitter, which provided links to stories from reputable news organizations like The New York Times, Slate, The Daily Beast and more, as well as links to relevant video coverage.
Not once did we even think about turning on the actual television.
Elysha first learned about the bombing via Facebook on her phone. She called me, since I was supposed to be in Boston that evening at a Moth event, and I immediately turned to Twitter for updates.
In fact, I can’t remember the last time we turned on the television for news, and I like to think that I am a well informed person. I am well aware of the current political machinations in our country, as well as the events taking place overseas. In fact, I often find myself explaining current events to friends and family. In many ways, I am a news junkie.
Yet I do not rely on the television or a traditional newspaper to inform me. Almost every bit of my news comes via my curated Twitter stream and the podcasts that listen to weekly. This doesn’t mean that I’m not reading or watching news reports from traditional media outlets, but I am only receiving the reports that my Twitter stream deems worthy.
My news is therefore absent the ceaseless weather updates, the pointless banter between news anchors, the stories about car accidents and localized power outages, the human interest stories involving unexpected wildlife in the backyard, and best of all, the YouTube videos that I saw three days before traditional media realized it might be a story.
Nor do I think that I am an exception. I expect that many, many people now receive their news this way. If I’m correct, what will the traditional news outlets do in twenty years when their aging audiences begin to die off and no one turns on the television at 7:00 AM or 6:00 PM anymore for news?