Friday, August 22, 2008

Reporting Not-so-live on Something Not-so-new

One thing I both love and hate about today's media ecology is its willingness to reward quickness. Google, for instance, that powerful source, rewards sites that have been updated the most often. It can be fun and helpful to pour out words frequently--and I do think we underestimate the importance of the writing and reading going on in today's culture. But we as content producers in this environment can feel this huge pressure to produce all the time, and to always have our content be new! and exciting!

We as readers become reliant on this news and faux-news, to the point that news outlets, I've noticed lately, have begun sending me "breaking news" stories letting people know that there is no change. I seem to have deleted the links because I thought they were stupid when I read them, but these things have begun coming from reputable news sources.

This development shows that our thirst for news has grown to the point where it's nearly insatiable. Has our desire for MORE! has cycled around to the point where we're actually willing to wait if someone keeps us updated on the waiting?

That wouldn't be such a bad thing, actually, if that were the case. Maybe we writers who try to balance our writing lives between making new content but also work on polishing other projects can use these banal news pauses to divert people to our more substantive pieces about the things that matter most. Things that touch on the human condition, for instance. And we as readers and take advantage of the pauses to think about these things once again.

The current post, written ahead of time and with several revisions to make sure the writing was clear and relatively concise, is an attempt to find a middle ground between relevant, timely, and frequent posts and the benefits of taking time for reflection. It's also my own little writerly rebellion against the tyranny of now.

Hopefully I'm using my enforced break from news to pay attention to the things that matter most. Perhaps I'm sitting in the sun reflecting on a single good sentence or line of poetry, such as Eliot's line in Four Quartets about our "fear/Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God," and working to counteract that fear. Or perhaps I'm staring up at constantly-shifting clouds and reflecting on how long it's been that things have been constantly changing.

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