Is it time to silence your mobile notifications, check the time on your old analogue watch, buy your favourite print newspapers and have a coffee in your local coffee bar? I think so. Even though we deliver content in a digital format, I encourage readers to consume only carefully curated pages, without the constant beeping of someone else’s opinion in the background.
Another new normal
We had just closed the December editorial, and 24 hours later, a new earthquake of 6.4 magnitudes with the epicentre in Petrinja struck central Croatia. With seven lives lost and the affected area almost completely destroyed, the series of earthquakes keep people in constant anxiety – the last one that hit on the 28th of January was 3.0 Richter.
With the immediate task of taking care of the affected population, the aftermath of these events is a long and complicated period of reconstruction and acceptance of yet another ‘new normal’, living with natural disasters and earthquakes.
The event also showed ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ of social networks, with a chaotic mix of people with good intentions trying to help and those seeking attention, to those deliberately trying to obstruct attempts of managing the unexpected situation.
In January, Croatia accepted the Global Commitment on Media Freedoms while Australia took a stand against Google in the fight for local publishers and a more considerable contribution to the media industry. I find it exciting that the Australian Government reminded Google and Facebook, who is in charge.
According to Google and if accepted, the News media bargaining code would forever change how their search engine works. We agree on that. But, does Google REALLY position the content for free?
If a company wants to feature its results on page 1 of the Google Search, it has to invest a significant amount of time and money to get there; therefore, that’s not a free service. Shoutout to all SEO Specialists out there (that may be working for free?), and all their expensive SEO certifications. The elitist ‘page 1’ position is much more complicated to obtain than what Google is trying to portray to an average user.
Not to mention the enormous amount of personal information Google asks of their users for the sake of ‘providing a better experience’. The time is up, and playing with someone else’s data is not an unattended playground anymore.
Back to media freedoms, are global media outlets free? Free from influences, self-inflicted political bias, advertising power, (self) censorship, superficial topics? In a world where everyone has an opinion about everything, media outlets forgot the difference between the opinion piece and a news feature. It becomes ‘really suspish’ if one writes from nobody’s point of view.
Debate enthusiasts agree on one thing; social media, made to converse, killed the virtue of having a conversation.
What about the reader?
It looks like all these ‘information distributors’ forgot about the reader. What do readers want and need?
Someone once cleverly said that when it comes to news, readers don’t expect an endless debate about whether it is raining, they hope a journalist will go outside and check if that’s a fact.
The media minimalism and intentional lifestyle is something I humbly predict will be the readers’ choice. Call me old fashioned or too strict, but in an era where everything is available, people wanting to better themself will have to prioritise.
Choose your content wisely.