Of Mainstream Media: is it dying?

Is Mainstream Media dying…. And did The New Media deal it a mortal blow?

Is Journalism dying, killed by social media
“The Medium has compromised The Media”

A sound-bite from Takura Zhangazha whilst speaking on the role The Media on the upcoming Zimbabwean Presidential elections and part of an analysis of previous 2013 elections, at a Medial Alliance of Zimbabwe conference; where it was noted there has been a marked increase in social media usage and citizen journalism. He defined The Medium as being tools, technology; the internet social media……..

Well one cannot lay blame on tools, they say “guns don’t kill people…. ” (but then who ever came up with that phrase was from a time before anyone ever imagined someone would invent drones and weaponise them or the strides in Artificial Intelligence; before the future spelt out in Hollywood movies was even remotely possible, the machines rise…. but I digress)

Corrupted Media

The DNA of The New Media

Mainstream media has had gaps in its coverage, marginalising some aspects in favour of profitable stories, political mileage and sometimes simply some sort of principle and code. These gaps have been filled by new media; which allows for diverse practitioners to exploit the ease at which information spreads, (going viral), abiding by almost no code, ungoverned and ungovernable, algorithms defining trending topics; requiring little or no verification; mostly for the likes; shares retweets, the real time interaction and the entertainment value…

Social Media can break the news before almost any media house, first with the news, because anyone anywhere with a smartphone and an internet connection is a pseudo-journalist…

When traditional media houses try to out-compete new media, they wind up losing their journalistic integrity, (and their credibility). Is it a surprise no one takes mainstream media seriously anymore, not pointing any fingers, but when a head of state takes to social medal  to label a media house as fake news………

If traditional media houses treat new media and online content creation as their “unscrupulous” competition whom they need to fight for their place in the sun then …… mainstream media will die.

The herald

The logic makes sense; but in this age of The Internet Of Things, where even your fridge can go online; this is how you lose a battle with new media. You leave a space and someone or something will take your place; like a game musical chairs when the music stops, you find your seat has been taken……. You are Out.

online piracy

Piracy/plagiarism is a real problem and another challenge all together. I have Google searched and found snippets of my words unattributed to me, it hurts…. I mean if you ask me nicely I would let you, so long as you referenced back to me, is that too much to ask for? When a solution comes do let me know.

Traditional media houses need to adapt and embrace more of the new media; define new guidelines and core values with regards to interacting with social media instead of treating it as an amusing spectacle like children running around in adults clothes pretending to be journalists; useful only to get hits and views. It is an instrument a powerful one, capable of transforming the world as we know it, but a tool’s is utility just like any weapon is dependent on its wielder.

Evian babies wearing oversized clothes

RESPECT

The main problem with social media is “the proliferation of fake news” a phrase I have heard over and over again. But it’s mostly a matter of user education, people must need to learn a culture of not spreading unverified information or at least questioning and cross-checking facts. Sometimes even a quick Google Search could prove to you that a celebrity is not dead or how today is a not a unique day whose star alignment will not happen again in the next 456321 million years…..

Maybe that’s what mainstream media has to do; apply expert skill-set to interpret trends, analysing stories and issues raised in new media packaging them in the way they should be, debunking fake news and harnessing the potential reach of online influencers; reviewing new media the way it already reviews traditional publishing houses. On social media everyone to a degree is a social commentator or analyst adding their two cents to the narrative and with elections coming up, that space is going to be real chaotic  real fast in a way that could change electoral process dynamics.

If I owned a media house…………….

~B

 

Photo Credit: Evian Water Babies Digital Agency Network

 

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Of Coffee And Shiny New Lessons

If you were having coffee with me we would be trying out my shiny new kettle……

Shiny Africa .jpg

I would thank you for visiting and let you know that you are like my shiny new kettle, with the wonky instructions manual, hard to understand but absolutely worth it……

instructions

if you can make sense of this…..

In case you are curious and wondering what happened to the old kettle…. I tried to fix it and I failed… I also learnt a few things too…

old kettle.jpg

You know when an appliance comes with the warning tag No User Serviceable Parts, what they mean is Do Not Attempt To Fix This by Yourself unless you are trained professional but I still insist on taking it as a personal challenge……

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that there are lots of things I have learnt, which is my fancy way of telling you that I may or may not have made some mistakes in life….

Things I learned not to do in life……..

Never Ever:

  • Check the temperature of water in a kettle by dipping hand into the kettle….
  • Touch hot stove tops……..
  • Kick at snakes venomous or otherwise, in fact, snakes should just stay away from me please and thank you …….
  • Poke wasps nests with a stick……..
  • Play in traffic……..
  • Look for shoes under the bed with a candle…
  • Super glue fingers together…
  • Lick the inside metal of the freezer…
  • Put metal objects in electricity outlets….
  • Lick electric wires to taste check if there is power….
  • Look under a lawnmower to see why it’s making so much noise……….
  • NOT Check the ceiling height and clearance for low hanging chandeliers and any other ornaments before tossing a toddler into the air over your head….
  • And when I write a book to check for errors extensively before I have it published
  • and lastly……
    never……
    ever …….. look inside a lady’s handbag….

If you were having coffee with me I won’t tell you what I saw, but I have learnt my lesson, curiosity kills nine lived cats and I have only one.

How has your week been? I hope your weekend is going great.

If you were coffee with me, I would tell you that I have been following social media commentary on a book titled From A to B written by South African TV personality Bonang.

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Her book has been making a buzz because of typos and grammar problems. It is kind of weird to note most of the people who have suddenly become book critics well havent read the book but have just seen the same screenshot(s) from the book circulating on the interweb and have formed opinions and made remarks of not only the book, but the author as well, as if one wakes up and decides what typos should I make in my book today. Ironically enough I spotted a tweet or two with grammar atrocities busy making fun of Bonang’s typos……

While I am not excusing the author, I mean one owes it to the people who are going to spend their hard earned money on you to create something worth their time and the publishing companies ought to do their due diligence instead of damage control

What do you think?

~B

 

 

photocredit Bonang Instagram

 

Of Feeling The Earth Move

I felt the Earth move beneath the soles of my feet, a tremor deep from the bowels of the planet’s core.

I was sitting on the sofa watching TV and tweeting about it….  and then I noticed that it was just that I could feel The Earth beneath my feet but the sofa was vibrating ever so slightly like it was a massage chair and the windows were rattling like a freight train was passing through my backyard…. There is no railway line in our backyard, so it could only mean one thing…. a derailed freight train was being all unstoppable outside the house…. I got up and peered casually outside the window half expecting to hear the shrill blast of a train’s horn or see the headlights coming straight at me and I could look like a startled deer watching a flame come to burn it, wait that’s a moth, but see a moth would have flown to the flame, the flame would have come for me…..I guess my imagination is just like runaway train of thought….

The internet is such a handy tool, instead going crazy trying to figure out if I had gone crazy a few clicks later I knew what happened…..

Turns out it was an earthquake:

Africa

A 6.5 magnitude earthquake with an epicentre in central Botswana occurred at 1940hrs CAT, and the tremors were felt in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

I haven’t heard of any causalities so I presume people only got a little shaken up nothing serious…

Its amazing isn’t our ability to laugh at  the things that frighten, our on way of assuring ourselves that, that wasn’t so bad give me another challenge… see fear cant abide humour, were it not for laughter sometimes fear  would never leave, that’s because fear usually arrives late, inevitably leaves early, and ends up never going out at all.

So when you wake up in the morning and find people joking about earthquakes all over social media maybe they are not just being funny, they are saying hey lets laugh because we are not afraid… at least lets pretend we didn’t for a second think the world was going to end, aint no body got time to live their lives like that….

I felt the Earth move beneath my feet and I laughed, did you feel it too…..?

~B

PS If you didn’t feel anything and you are wondering if it was real, the internet says it was real so it was real

 

Of Coffee As Usual

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If you were having coffee with me I would say thanks for the visit it’s been an interesting week well maybe interesting is not quite the word, let’s just say eventful or dare I say business as usual.

We live life a hashtag away from anarchy.

I was watching the international news and couldn’t help ask myself what’s happening in the world police officers killing people, people killing officers and robotic bomb thingies killing people….

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you is this how the world ends in anarchy, chaos and riots on the street? I overheard a voice in my head saying to another voice  “Sometimes monsters don’t look like terrifying creatures with grotesque forms conjured from nightmarish dreams, sometimes monsters look like you and me and wear uniforms with shiny buttons and polished shoes.”

Earlier during the week public taxi drivers staged protests about the number of police roadblocks on the roads asking how they could earn a living when they are constantly being fleeced by the police and this ended up in running battles between the riot police and the drivers leaving commuters stranded.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that Wednesday was the day the internet stopped, well for us anyway and only for a few hours. Internet service providers apologized for the interruption in service but didn’t explain any further leaving people to speculate that maybe the government had a hand in it because this coincided with the day that was scheduled for a mass stay away to shut down Zimbabwe. The stay away tagged #ShutDownZim culminated from a social media rant tagged as #ThisFlag urging Zimbabweans to stand together as bold citizens and a send a message of solidarity to the government by staying away from work and thus shutting down the country for a day. The ZBC Main News bulletin (which just happened to be delayed by almost ten minutes and popular opinion on the interweb is that this was to “cook” the news) went to great lengths to prove show it was business as usual in the country… and the phrase business as usual was used more than five times throughout the  news reading.

The official ZBC twitter account even tweeted that the stay away was a flop.

Flops

If you were having coffee with me I would say that THE Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has issued out a statement warning against the abuse of social media and here is a copy that is making the rounds on the internet:

POTRAZ.jpg

It’s a bit of a scary statement and has the thin veil of a threat or gag order as we chat over coffee as usual cant help wonder if this coffee post can be construed as causing despondency or unrest, and I want to ask what about freedom of speech? That’s a rhetoric question don’t answer that we just having coffee as usual.

If you were having coffee with me it would not be coffee as usual oh no we are still having herbal Zumbani Tea. Guess what, I happened to notice it being sold in a local shop and it costs quite the pretty penny me thinks I just might start packing my own and selling if anyone interested do get in touch ^_^

Zumbani

So what’s been happening in your part of the world? Here is to a great weekend and a great week ahead

~B