I work in a highly-connected world. My day consists of interviewing people (sometimes via email); writing news articles, features and blogs; pushing those news articles, features and blogs into publishing software; tweeting, retweeting, and sometimes even retweeting a tweet I’ve just tweeted from my other Twitter account (I’ve been known to get anxiety when my Tweet Deck is down); emailing via Outlook, Yahoo, Hotmail and my new, second Yahoo account; updating social networking sites; approving blog comments and responding to others; making my own comments to various industry blogs; speaking with people who want my comment (egads); pushing my stories to Twitter and FaceBook – and now my new FaceBook fan page (of which I have just become a fan…sick?); manning the ‘Runway Girl Mary Kirby’ YouTube channel; and sending pictures from my iPhone to my email accounts for blogging/tweeting/facebooking purposes.
This is my new reality.
This is unlike the reality I had in early 2007, before the blog, before Twitter and before the social media explosion well really and truly took hold (but after my experiment with MySpace, interestingly). Before my mom joined FaceBook. Before I became ‘friends’ with nearly every kid who made fun of me in Junior High. Before I had a laptop, camera, blackberry, iPhone and all accompanying cords attached to my person at every single conference, air show or interview I attend.
Today, after learning that a prominent news agency was writing third hand, unconfirmed information about him, a friend of mine said: “Journalism as I learned it appears to be dead. Conjecture is not fact, even three steps removed.”
I don’t believe that journalism is dead per se (I can’t. I’m a journalist, who takes pride in working for a magazine and online news agency that still believe in good journalism. Okay, I’m a journa-blogger. A blogarist?).
But journalism has definitely changed – dramatically. It is changing by the second. Some of that change is good; some bad (a valid conversation for another time).
Journalists are no longer simply responsible for writing a story in a Word document and sending it to off to editors and copy editors for a good sprucing up.
We are no longer part of the machine as much as we are the machine. (And yet, I don’t doubt that machines can be replaced by other, more agile, more tech-savvy, more prolific machines.)
Sometimes, when you’re part of that machine you lose sight of the fact that not everybody lives this way (not yet). Sometimes it takes another friend to point out that, for every Mary Kirby armed with multiple connected devices, twit-pic-ing an iPhone photo of an aircraft; there are many more people with antiquated telephones and aged computers, and grannies who haven’t learned how to Skype let alone flown in an aircraft.
Last summer I took a little holiday with my daughter, my college friend and her children to Bethany Beach, Delaware. At a crab house near a Holiday Inn (which was advertising the fact that it is located a stone’s throw away from a drug store), my friend showed me her phone (above pic). Look past the little, crab-covered hands and you’ll see a working cell phone, hanging on – literally- by a thread.
It reminded me that not everyone walks around with state-of-the-art communication devices. Not everyone is on FaceBook, Twitter, blogs, FriendFeed, YouTube, Email, and myriad other software applications all day long.
And yet, they are still getting by. They are still staying connected.
But, unless they belong to the last vestige of ‘traditional’ scribes, they are probably not modern journalists.
Welcome to the new world of publishing. It’s like drinking wine from a bag (in a box). It might take some getting used to. It might not always be perfectly suited to your tastes. BUT it still tastes pretty alright. It’s not pretentious. And everyone is welcome to a glass.
If you’d like to take a sip, join me on Twitter (@runwaygirl @marybkirby), on FaceBook (Runway Girl fan page), on YouTube (RunwayGirlMaryKirby channel), via email (firstname.lastname@example.org is best), or here, at the Runway Girl blog, where I largely focus on in-flight entertainment and connectivity.
Because if you feel connected now, you ain’t felt nothing until you’ve connected in-flight.