Commercialization: Dumbing Down, or Making Accessible?
(Another late post! My apologizes.. I recently just got the book.)
While reading chapter 2 of McKee’s book, one particular tool of media and commercialization came to mind: Twitter.
McKee denotes that the media “no longer cares about quality”, and “produces material which is easy to consume, not requiring audiences to think at great length…” We as an audience no longer want to stop and think about what is going on in the world. In a quick-paced world, consumers want to be informed in 10 words or less and be able form an opinion right away (such as might be the case, some might argue, with petitioners on campus, who give a quick spiel about their “cause” and then thrust their petition sheet and pen into your hands expectantly. I’ve seen far too many people nod their head in slight agreement, sort of to say “well.. I kinda get it.. okay, sure” and then sign without any real, contemplative thought put into what they have been told).
Anyways, I’m getting away from what I originally wanted to talk about: twitter. Just by watching the news, at the end of each broadcaster’s report, a little banner flashes underneath their name, boasting an @ symbol and their username. “Follow us on twitter and don’t forget to ‘like’ us on Facebook!” the reporters remind us.
Out of curiosity, I’ve admittedly gone on to the twitters and Facebook feeds of news channels and their news anchors. Particularly on twitter, where a 140-character limit is enforced, it is much harder to express full details about a news story, so instead (sometimes even with “you” abbreviated as “u”, etc) they post a quick, summative, and generally ‘dumbed-down’ tweet about a story. Regardless if it’s about a political issue, an international riot, or a celebrity nip-slip, the same ‘simple’ lingo is used to portray it. On Facebook, the news channels will post with a few more details, but often love to include flashy pictures of a fire or a smiling old woman or anything that will cause somebody to stop scrolling their feed and take a look. The paragraph for the story is seriously probably the measurement length of the picture posted.
What do my blog readers out there think? In trying to integrate media into social networking, have ‘intelligent’ news channels dumbed themselves down to the point of ridiculousness, and is it simply with the intention of reaching a bigger audience, or suiting one with a rapidly diminishing attention span?