You know the cliche all too well. That dreaded “When I was your age” line that always led to your parents or grandparents rambling about the dark ages they were raised in, without modern conveniences like cell phones, laptops or microwaves.
Admit it, you hate those stories! You swear to yourself that when you’re 40+ you’ll never subject people to those ridiculous tales. Ironically, you probably won’t have to wait until then to prove yourself wrong.
Last week, I told my 15 year old sister, “When I was your age, we IM’d (instant messaged) each other. I used to spend hours online at night talking to my friends on msn messenger.” She responded with a blank stare and a four word answer, “Oh…we text now.”
There are only 5 years between us but it seems like my sister and I grew up in different times. I started texting in college, she was a fluent in “chat lingo” in middle school. I remember photocopying articles from magazines to use for research, she downloads the web versions. I used to bring my disc-man and CD collection on every family road trip, her ipod never leaves her purse.
For today’s teenagers, print newspapers are purely nostalgic. Their lives have been so digital that they look at print news the same way I look at cassette tapes: little more than a vague childhood memory.
As journalists we must learn to make online users, such as these teens, read the newspaper somewhere other than on paper.
RSS seems to be the most logical news source for today’s tech savvy teens. These kids are accustomed to personalization and ease of access; RSS is centered on those concepts. Since it is easily accessed from their laptops and cellphones, I expect that while they finish high school, college, and move into the work force, RSS will likely be a natural part of their lives.
Then there’s the world of pod casting. The major drawback of podcasts is that they require a desktop or laptop computer because they are frequently downloaded to devices that are not web enabled. Obviously, that’s changing. The iPhone opened our eyes to the reality of carrying unlimited technology in your pocket. Since then more and more cellphones, mp3 players, and other mobile web enabled devices become more affordable for the average consumer. I expect podcasts to gain more popularity as Santa Claus starts bringing more web enabled ipods, mp3 players, etc…
So what happens when future technology surpasses 2009’s cutting edge users?
I can hardly fathom a day when news is delivered in a more user friendly way than it already is through RSS: free, personalized, and immediate. No matter how inconceivable, logic tells us that technology will continue to develop at its current exponential rate.
With such a quick turn over of technology, I expect that all users will reach a point where they, as individuals, settle for their favorite method of news delivery, whether print newspaper, podcast, or broadcast news. Sure, new methods will be released and the tech savvy will take advantage of them but people reach a point where they like what they are familiar with.
I can’t begin to imagine how people will get their news 10-15 years from now. By then we’ll have a new generation of teens to torture with our “When I was your age we read the newspaper…on actual paper” stories.