We no longer have news; instead, we have trends. And, one thing we can be sure of -- what is trending today, no matter how earth-shattering or horrific, will most likely not be trending a few days later.
We can select our news: what we want to follow, see, and hear. Not only that, we can create our news. With social media, we each have our own private newspaper where we post and display highly-edited versions of our lives for all to see. News - both the personal and the external - is an ever changing slide-show. Big pictures, small headlines. Next.
In the meantime, stuff happens.
Each event is just another Wikipedia entry. Nothing lasting comes from it. Few people even have a 'cause' these days. Unless we are personally involved, nothing seems to make a lasting imprint on us.
I discovered this a few weeks ago during the Santa Barbara shooting rampage (remember that?). During the TV reporting of the incident, it was mentioned that it was nearly a year after a prior shooting in which several were killed at Santa Monica College. Huh? I couldn't remember it. I asked several friends and they too had a hard time remembering. Only my brother, who lives in Denver, could recall a story of two of the victims -- a dad taking his daughter to register for school and both getting caught in the melee.
Some of my Southern Cal friends went back to their calendars to see what they were doing or what else was going on in the world at the time of the tragedy (June 7, 2013). Was there something that trumped it? A reality star wedding?
We live in a world where too many would rather keep up with celebrities than the news of the day. We would rather be entertained than informed. We know more about fake 'real' housewives than about our neighbors.
Our news stories, no matter what they concern, just don't get much time to grab our attention. Sure, if there is a trial involved with many salacious details, we just might tune-in. Media rewards us for this by giving continuous coverage, similar to preempting programs for car chases.
Not only do we forget....we don't act. Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, the Arizona shootings -- after each we hear the righteous indignation and calls for gun control and more mental health services. But these calls fall on deaf ears. Our government today is too dysfunctional and too partisan to accomplish anything. So we go back to the fantasy of reality TV and wait for the next episode of real life. If Sandy Hook produced nothing...and has been forgotten...is there any hope for us?
Anyway -- who has time for causes when there are endless ways for us to be entertained? Not to mention the substances we have to provide escapism from the world's problems.
If something does grab our attention (probably involving cats or zombies) -- we can always 'like' or 'favorite' the story and even 'share' it with others. Or, maybe we'll just save it to read later? Yeah right.
There is no shortage of people who are writing and reporting on the news. But they are just voices in the wind. Each story blown away by the next storm. Even with our 'reality' shows, the antics are screaming louder and louder for attention.
Real life is not a hashtag and news is not a trend.
BTW.....where is that Malaysian plane that disappeared? (#WheresThePlane) and where are the Nigerian girls? (#BringBackOurGirls) and why are there so many murders in Chicago? (#MurderCityChicago) and #Gaza and #Ukraine and #Syria and #Iraq and #ClimateChange and #Drought and #Obamacare and #DoNothingCongress and #BorderChildren and #################.