In this age of Web 2.0 and democratized information on the smart phone, everyone is a citizen journalist. Take a pic, tweet an event and you are contributing to the discourse, a position previously mandated to the career journalist and the academic. The 140 character brevity does not help all the time as the messy, complex reality of our existence needs nuanced understanding of issues which are often tangled and inter-twined beyond any recourse. Facebook is more of an intimate platform with a Billion plus users, bringing out the narcissistic side in us. I must admit, Selfies are fun 🙂
Some friends on Social Media seem to voice opinion on every single data point from dog food to drones. The essence of research and writing of essays seems to a lost art, exclusive to the academic community and obscure journals which are seldom read. Culture Journals such as The New Yorker, Paris Review or The Caravan are rare breeds. We have limited attention spans, and a 2500 word essay written by Pankaj Mishra may render aesthetic pleasure but it is honestly cumbersome to read such art-pieces on a sub-way side.The audience is niche, not suited to social media blabbering. The 24×7 information machine makes it impossible for a thought leader or a public intellectual to remain consistent, Fareed Zakaria can surely attest.
In depth understanding of a policy matter is mandatory to make an informed call. TV Punditry is sexy and I have been on international TV personally but experts are experts. Hard Work has no substitute.
Let us pass a statement when one knows something substantial. Democratising information is one aspect but information pollution overload is another.