So the 2014 Super Bowl happened. And I was not one of the 111.5 million viewers to watch it.
- Yes, you heard right.
- Yes, I realize the televised game turned out to be the most-watched TV program in U.S. history.
- No, I did not feel that gut-wrenching, panic-stricken unease that is known as FOMO.
There were reasons for my inability to watch the game; it was not my choice to miss the Super Bowl, and, although not obvious, I am a fan of football.
Then why am I okay with this untimely event? Because without actually watching even one second of the 2014 Super Bowl, I knew exactly what was happening in the game at any given time. And not only the actual football game itself, but I had the ability to watch the ever-popular Super Bowl advertisements, read blogs that critiqued the ads, get stat updates of each of the players, view photographs of Russell Wilson’s most recent touchdown pass, and discuss the Super Bowl with my friends cybernetically – and, get this, – all from my smartphone.
This is just one example of how technologies in today’s world allow us to be connected while not technically being connected at all. As Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman discuss in their book, Networked: The New Social Operating System, we are now, more than ever, connected to many social networks that can supply us with an infinite amount of information constantly. Where media used to be industrial, mass-produced and mass-aired, it has now become individualized through personal networks where we can connect with people, media and data of our choice at anytime, anywhere.
Because of my many “networks” via the internet, my mobile device, and social network sites, I did not need to watch the record-breaking televised 2014 Super Bowl. Instead, I was able to get all of the details about the game, tailored to my preferences, without having to actually watch it.
Looking at the larger picture, this evolution of how we consume media effects all channels. The Columbia Journalism School’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism explores how we digitally inform ourselves today from how we used to be informed by the old structures of broadcast and publishing. Tow’s C.W. Anderson, Emily Bell and Clay Shirky make a compelling argument in Post Industrial Journalism for journalistic sources to adapt, because the old ways of journalism are forever gone and the new ways of individualized, specialized and socialized news are here to stay and continue evolving. As consumers are adapting quickly to the new ways they can get news and information, so too should news sources quickly adapt to the new ways they can give news and information.
If you are a business and want to get in on this “networked media” that Rainie and Wellman are talking about, check out Mandy Edwards blog post on how to set up a social media strategy. Based off of your particular audience, define your networking goals and set a schedule.