What if everything converged into a single mobile device that connects you to… everything? The smartphone/tablet/netbook/laptop could evolve into the most ubiquitous device on the planet – a personal link providing individuals with information and media in a portable, well-connected form at a relatively low price. Journalism would have to work differently in a thoroughly wireless, anything anywhere society.
The mobile phone is now the most ubiquitous media device on the planet. Or rather, the device that used to be just the mobile phone. Because while people still do actually talk to one another on it, some of the time, today’s mobile is much more than a phone. It has evolved to encompass pretty much all of the capabilities and functions predicted for it over the past 10 years. And now pretty much every individual has one of his or her own – a personal link providing information and media in a portable, well-connected form at a relatively low price. The result is a thoroughly wireless, anything-anywhere society to which news media have adapted. This is journalism in the age of extreme mobile.
Today, what used to be the mobile phone is technically termed a Specialized Social Services device. Most people just call it their Triple-S. It has essentially replaced their computer, laptop, smart phone, iPod, iPad and a host other former personal technology. In fact, the markets for most of those other mobile devices are gradually going away as their advantages and capabilities are incorporated into the latest generationTriple-S.
Most significantly, the fact that most everyone has a Triple-S on his or her person most all the time has created a world where people from the same town, a different state or another country are constantly and intimately connected. In this environment, news has become even more viral, fast-paced and digitally consumed. Stories are viewed in a less text-heavy, more infographic visually-based layout. Gone are the days when people scanned through pages and pages of text; news now is more concise and geared for fast consumption. Journalists more than anything now act as the traffic police of news stories, guiding the direction and flow of information.
In this environment, news has become even more viral, fast-paced and digitally consumed. Stories are viewed in a less text-heavy, more infographic visually-based layout.
Our story follows a day in the life of Al Jennings, a successful business entrepreneur and family man. With his Triple-S, Al is more constantly connected with his environment, including news, work updates and entertainment. From the time Al wakes up in the morning to when he crawls into bed at night, the Triple-S keeps him updated with the news and entertainment he chooses. The advantage of the Triple-S compared to devices such as an iPhone, most popular 10 years ago, is users spend less time scanning through unwanted news. Journalists now write their stories keeping in mind the immediacy and personalization that the Triple-S is able to deliver. Journalists no longer have to write a story that appeals to thousands of different people with differing tastes, interests and personalities. The stories journalists write are now delivered to people with similar interest graphs. For instance, Al receives his customized news through a select number of journalists, rather than a myriad of different writers. Journalists have begun specializing in one or two categories, rather than covering a variety of news stories.
Journalists gain popularity through digital word of mouth; people share stories and news with each other through social networking platforms. Beginning a journalism career can be difficult and there are fewer well-known journalists compared to 10 years ago; however, these journalists are highly respected and esteemed. Journalists are employed by news companies, major networks (such as ABC, Fox, etc.), newspapers, and digital magazines. A journalist is paid based on the level of consumer readership and popularity; the more demand a journalist has, the higher salary he or she earns. The major networks and big news corporations often enlist journalists to write multiple stories throughout the day. This combined with the continual updating journalists must do to keep their stories current, causes journalists to constantly be glued to their Triple-S devices. Similarly, consumers are constantly checking their devices for the latest updates in news and entertainment.
A journalist is paid based on the level of consumer readership and popularity; the more demand a journalist has, the higher salary he or she earns.
Journalists work on their niche story topics to deliver to Al, as well as any other Triple-S user, a personalized newsfeed. Even though Al has never met these journalists face to face, he feels personally connected to them. When Al finishes reading a story he especially likes, he shares it with other individuals in his social circle. This in turn allows journalists to gain popularity and determine what stories they should focus most on writing. When Al initially purchased his Triple-S, he set up a user profile that gave him total control over the news stories and information that he wanted to receive. Since Al is a businessman, he elected to be informed of the latest news in the business and finance world. He receives both local and national news relating to his field of interest. As Al’s tastes and interests evolve, so does his customized newsfeed. The stories that Al receives over breakfast will continue to unfold throughout the day. Al will receive message updates from these journalists, providing him with the latest updates and happenings.
One such journalist that has delivered Al’s news to him since the day he activated his Triple-S is Fred Oliver. Fred is nationally known for delivering the best in entrepreneurial business and finance news. Though Fred lives on the California coast, far away from Al’s suburban home in Tennessee, the news content Fred gathers for Al is highly personalized to his daily work life. As Al leaves his home to drive to work, Fred is already working on updating the stories Al read during breakfast. Through text message alerts and audio message updates, Fred delivers the news to Al, and other users interested in the same category, as it’s happening, creating a live play-by-play. News can be read on the Triple-S or listened to with or without headphones. If Al isn’t interested in a particular story by mid-day, he sends Fred an instant message and he is removed from contacts receiving the story. It’s not uncommon for Al to hear from Fred throughout the entire day, during work lunches and even on the drive home. All across the country, people sharing Al’s interests who have chosen to subscribe to Fred’s topical newsfeed receive similar updates.
All of Fred’s news stories are photographed, written, and delivered through his Triple-S.
Fred’s role as a journalist has certainly changed from the way in which he would have written and delivered news 10 years ago. The way he produces, edits and delivers news content has taken on a far more mobile role. All of Fred’s news stories are photographed, written, and delivered through his Triple-S. A significant portion of Fred’s workday includes traveling, updating his stories from various locations. Fred no longer has an office in a newsroom, like he did 10 years ago, where he would sit and write news stories. With the use of his Triple-S, Fred can begin writing a story in his favorite coffee shop, edit it on the train, and deliver it to his readers while running errands on the way home.
In a sense, the Triple-S has become Fred’s newsroom, allowing him the capabilities to create, deliver and interact as a journalist. Being the veteran and prized journalist that Fred is, he does not hold a physical office. However, there are others in the journalism industry that typically inhabit the newsroom. Interns and upcoming journalists in training hold offices in the newsroom, frequenting them almost everyday. These journalists need guidance at times as all beginners do, so the proximity of higher-ups serves well. They hope to become skilled enough at their craft one day in order to go off on their own much like Fred Oliver and have their own regular newsfeed and loyal readership base.
Journalists act as aggregators, cultivating a user friendly and personalized newsfeed just for Al. Gone are the days of lounging over the morning paper, though newspapers are very much still in existence. Newspapers are losing popularity more quickly now, considering they only offer general, smaller story lines. Newspapers are not personalized to their users, like the Triple-S allows, but the older generations still enjoy a tangible product. Today, journalists act like “bugs” in society’s ear, delivering news throughout the day. The style of news is less text heavy, focusing more on info graphics and audio. Journalism is now packaged in the forms of podcasts, video and images since people are always on the go and have less time to sit down and read a story from start to finish.
Journalists act as aggregators, cultivating a user friendly and personalized newsfeed.
The everyday life of Al Jennings accurately portrays the daily routines of millions of other people around the world. As described, the Triple-S has successfully fulfilled just about every need or want people could hope to gain from the use of a technological device. The function and capability of the Triple-S is applicable to every individual, regardless of the average person’s lifestyle, age, occupation, personality or geographical location. The Triple-S has been so successful because it offers people what they want most from technology: fast and absolute access, anywhere, anytime. More than ever before, at any other time in this world’s history, the human population is intimately and constantly connected.