This week I have had several opportunities to be reminded of the evolution of online information, and not just the info itself but the wrapper/package. I remember the hideous web sites of 1992, the colors, the flashing text, yuk! Information on the web was no more than a marketing page. As time passed and the white space on sites became filled with ads and even MORE information no one had time to visit the plethora of web sites containing information and RSS was born. “Don’t make me go to you, come to me!” Send me the info I want without making me visit you. As sites lost branding and ad-generated money more time passed and mobile sites and apps were developed. Now, even on a traditional desktop or laptop machine, people desire these mobile sites and apps because the content and the page itself are stripped down, not “noisy”. The brand and the user experience are once again important, but now it seems the content is on the decline. It’s like watching the evolution of news: you local Monday 5 o’clock newscasters caffeinated and crammed into a tiny square on Bloomberg while 4 different tickers scroll across the bottom and

It’s no wonder people have begun using their social networks to consume news. They have created a bubble of like-minded friends who will (should?) only alert them to topics that will (should?) interest them. The problem with this? That circle of friends is full of people who want to be the first to report “breaking” news that really only revolves around celebrity and gossip. People are no longer serendipitously exposed to an issue or story that would have changed their mind, changed their perspective, changed their world.

Last night I saw Green Day’s American Idiot. It says a lot that a punk band whose musical talent doesn’t branch beyond playing in drop D from the 90s/early 2000s have a hit Broadway musical. It says something else to me that lyrics written in 2004 were already mentioning new media…

Don’t want to be an American idiot.
Don’t want a nation under the new media
And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
The subliminal mind fuck America.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn’t meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow.
For that’s enough to argue.

Well maybe I’m the faggot America.
I’m not a part of a redneck agenda.
Now everybody do the propaganda.
And sing along to the age of paranoia.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn’t meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow.
For that’s enough to argue.

Don’t want to be an American idiot.
One nation controlled by the media.
Information age of hysteria.
It’s calling out to idiot America.

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