One of three things that caught my attention on my Twitter feed this morning:
A BBC story on how smart phones are poised to take advantage of the public’s “insatiable appetite” for social media. This piqued my interest because yesterday at the AT&T store right here in Charleston, an iPhone could be had for $49. That’s the price of a goPhone. These hand-held computers that also make phone calls are changing our media habits. A good example from my own experience is the decline of my own ‘traditional media’ usage. In my case, this specifically means radio and newspapers. I used to read the Gazette every morning without fail. Now, I’ve read almost all the stories on my iPhone before the paper hits our front porch.
It’s the same with radio. I used to listen obsessively – of course, this is what good Program Directors do. A good PD listens as much as they can. I still listen to pub rad – always will. But these days, I’m just as likely to listen to Pandora or to my favorite NPR newsmags on my iPhone. In fact, to watch the videos in the BBC story referenced above, I reached up and turned the radio off.
My social media habits changed radically when I became more like pub rad’s target demo – I’m an educated, curious, civic-minded person who has access to all kinds of media. Radio and newspapers are just a few of my options. What will make me tune in specifically to a local station, or read my local paper? Great content covering my community. That’s the thing Pandora can’t do (though it does expose me to glorious new music).
One of the things I’ve heard people say when talking about Twitter is: “I don’t need to hear the mundane facts of someone’s life.” Usually they throw in something about not wanting to know people’s bathroom habits.
My response to them: “Have you tried it?”
Using Twitter enhances my depth of connection to the world. Where would I have heard or seen the BBC story about smartphones? It gave me a wider context on my experience in the AT&T store yesterday, broadened my understanding of an issue in society. The evolving use of new media is one of the hinge issues of our time. It’s not perfect, but that’s the nature of evolution.