Are You A Lamb, or Are You a Thinking Lamb?
Remember my previous writing? I identified some of the actions to deliver quality, yet still good content, to respond to Indonesia Freelancer’s member, who was quantifying content by volume instead of quality. Then, I still asked myself;
“Is he one of the catalysts resulting in information overabundance, hence people are unable to differentiate hoaxes?”
When I was in j-school, I was taught that journalism was established to be the Fourth Estate, a body that was far more imperative than the (1) clergy/religious institutions, (2) parliaments, and (3) population, as it was able to inform citizens and shape their political perspectives. Hence, journalists held an important watchdog role on the government, creating a love-hate relationship between the two. In other words, journalism ultimately answered to the truth, leading writing style, vocabulary selection, and tone to be extremely essential in not causing a riot upon a government’s unpopular actions.
Ever since the development of the internet in the 1950s, which was meant to be an information epicenter, published journalism’s livelihood had been struggling. One of Internet’s pioneers, psychologist J.C.R Licklider envisioned the Internet as a vast library, which had realized in the expense of published newspapers as an economic pillar. Having such a powerful platform, the popular kids in the playground, for instance, Google, JD, Facebook, Amazon, and etc., had shaped the Internet to be more than an informational platform. It had turned into a platform that changed the population’s news consumption and delivery.
When the Indonesia Freelancer’s member admitted to me that he was looking for quantity over quality, it was clear that he was looking to volumise SEO content. Google, a search engine used by almost 100% of the population, would only index your website popularly upon keywords search, and with the existence of backlinks. Should there be 100 more guys doing the same with the same objective, they would end up in a dysfunctional journalistic environment, and ultimately, propaganda. The overabundance of information had essentially sacrificed the quality of the writers and literature, therefore, a group of citizens who could not differentiate hoaxes against facts. This, and the easy access to mobile broadbands, would not do good to a developing population whose illiteracy rate was still quite significant.
In another perspective, journalism used to be heavily controlled by media conglomerates across nations, which meant the information was curated to hegemonies’ favours. The Internet and its library vastness, on the other hand, had pulverised and built an atmosphere and somewhat-education where we became more democratised to select and believe our preferred type of news.
The big question now lies back to you; which one do you prefer? Would you like to be libertised but in a pool of inaccuracies, or controlled in a pool of accuracies?
Journalism in the Digital Age. Link.
Google Only Loves You, when Everyone Else Loves You First. Link,
Indonesia Education and Literacy. Link.
Digital 2020 Indonesia. Link.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Media Conglomeration. Link.