Filed under: Comment
… OK so the fact I tweeted about Jimmy Savile’s death just before the UK Daily Telegraph, is hardly a damning indictment on British news agencies – however less than 10 years ago, the chances of this happening were very small and not just because Twitter wasn’t around.
The speed and volume of information we now have access too is amazing and unparalleled but in my mind there are 2 major issues with all this … issues that I believe affect adland as much as anyone.
1. WE’RE IN DANGER OF BECOMING A CULTURE THAT MISTAKES SPEED FOR ACCURACY.
That doesn’t mean it always happens and it doesn’t mean speed is a euphemism for ‘wrong’ … however I am alarmed how many people fall in the trap of taking a random piece of information and anointing it as fact.
This isn’t Twitters fault or Google’s etc … it’s the people who use it.
On the bright side, you usually get corrected by people who have taken the time to explore things a little deeper and have been able to separate speed from fact, however sometimes something terrible happens – and that’s when someone else takes a comment as endorsement and re-presents it as undeniably accurate.
It’s like when research companies are presenting their findings and put up a quote from one of their focus group participants.
I hate that.
I appreciate why they do it, but everytime I see something like that, I keep saying to myself,
“That’s just one person’s view, what about every one else’s?”
Look a little deeper because what might be presented as fact could end up simply being – at best – one person’s interpretation or at worst – one person’s attempt at causing mischief.
2. WE ARE NOW GIVEN SO MUCH INFORMATION, THAT IT IS BECOMING IMPOSSIBLE TO TELL WHICH BITS ARE WHAT WE SHOULD BE NOTICING.
We are swamped with stuff.
Stats … quotes … views … comments … data …
We have access to an almost never-ending amount of information.
Now while on one hand this is good, it’s also become a danger … because with so much volume of information, it is hard to identify which is the stuff that we should be noticing amongst all the piles of other data.
In the old days it was easier.
The data you had access too was smaller, but generally more specific to the issues and tasks in hand.
That meant that what you got made sense … had purpose … gave clues and direction.
But now …
It’s not that the information we have access too is bad. Or wrong.
OK, sometimes it is – however the bigger issue is that with so much access to so much data, the ability to separate the truly valuable from the mountain of everyday information is much, much harder … and with more and more companies expecting quicker and quicker results, there is a real danger that the data or insight that could change your World gets ignored – or lost – under a sea of incidental info.
The key – at least for me – is to know in your mind what you are trying to discover.
Be clear on what you want to find out and learn.
While you will still be swayed by the mountain of information that is thrown at you, asking/reminding yourself …
A/ What am I trying to find out?
B/ Is this information helping me?
C/ Is this information from a credible source?
… at least increases the odds you will stay on the path of your journey, as opposed to being seduced by stuff that takes you off course and ultimately leaves you lost and confused.
The speed of change and the ability to access information is amazing.
They are empowering and changing people and companies in ways never seen before … however it is important we don’t fall in to the trap of taking everything on face value, because if you do, you’re in danger of empowering mistakes rather than driving positive change.
So many people are questioning the future of news organisations.
These tend to be the same people who say digital is sweeping aside all the old models that lie before them.
However while digital has had a massive impact on many industries [though there is also a lot of myth, hype and legend behind some of the ‘facts’ – like Borders collapse, which had more to do with their terribly negotiated real estate lease agreements than Amazon], I think where news is concerned, there is a chance that the ‘cream’ can rise to the top … because while people are currently hungry to consume anything that is given to them, in time – with so much information available – I believe knowing who to ‘trust’ will become a commercial advantage and I just hope the good guys can hang in there long enough.
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