I feel sorry for the mass media journalist, 46, married, two kids, mortgage, whose life is unraveling because of Social Media. I generally feel sorry for anyone else whose job was based upon their opinion: Judges, Politicians, Doctors, Stockbrokers. Their opinions are the standards of the Old World, the pre-Social Media days. Their professions brought with them the distinction of a fairly secured life, almost in repayment for the careful dedication they burdened in divining opinions on which others could rely.
The old school foundations supporting, and supported by, these once-honored opinions are eroding in the seemingly infinite sandstorm of the Internet as the group-opinion becomes more sought than the opinion of a single professional.
Take the mass-media journalist above, for example. Let's say, he writes an article that gets published in both the hard copy and online versions of his journal with the online version accepting instant comments from readers, dynamically more effective than letters-to-the-editor of the paper version. The variety of opinions provides depth and perspective to the subject of the article, the comments provide the reader with information about the website he's visiting, about the writer and about his fellow visitors, and, all the 'Green' reasons are supported, paper, emissions, etc. There are probably more reasons than this short list.
With comments/opinions way out in front as the greatest value-added of the online version, the question gets begged, "Is the original article or are reader comments more valuable?"
This professional's opinion is no longer valuable. It has been replaced by the opinion of the masses. What does he have left?
This has got to terrify him. This professional dedicated his life to learning how to succeed by refining and marketing a respected professional opinion. The old school that established the standards, his adherence to which was honorably certified, is too far behind. He'll likely die before it catches up.
Our journalist must be brave here. He is now free. Free from the well-trodden, secure path to the horizon promised by the paradigm to which his life is/was mortgaged. Thinking now becomes his razor-sharp saber, in exchange for the dull knife of his old school opinion.
Is Social Media making you rethink your life?
You must be brave.