Take Me Back To The Dark Ages

19 Oct

Today Paul Brannan visited uni and unravelled a truth I had known but tried to avoid: The future for journalists is mobile phone technology.

Brannan gave an incredibly convincing speech on ever improving technology available, allowing us to track where people are with a landscape of information at our finger tips.

He showed us how we are able to project an image from an Iphone onto the wall, miles away from the constrained picture on the mobile screen.

I had a romantic image of myself, typing furiously at my (imagined) type writer or if I were to be pushed, a PC (yes, PC! Not MAC, heaven forbid).

I do check the news occasionally on my, now perceived as ancient, Blackberry Curve. However, each page takes at least ten minutes to upload. I am partial to a bit of online news. I also begrudgingly joined Twitter, but so far my followers consist of my class mates, Barbie and Ken, and a person pretending to be a dog. But, am I alone in preferring to ‘hold’ the news? Seemingly not.

Sir William Preece and I would have got on. As Chief Engineer at the British Post Office he said in 1878,

“The Americans have need of the telephone but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys”.

I wonder how Sir William would think if he glanced down your average train in Japan to see every single person with their up to the date phones, blogging/Tweeting/texting… Apparently our mobile phones are in the dark ages in comparison. It is hardly surprising that Nokia are the biggest camera manufacturer in the world.

NEW TECHNOLOGY

Before long, we will be able to point our phones at different buildings and monuments and people able to learn all there is to know.

 For instance, if you were to point the phone at Churchill’s statue, you would be able to hear one of his great war speeches. Information in the landscape will be tagged, giving us knowledge beyond our wildest dreams.

Other new technology includes ‘mobile wallets’ which are routinely used in Japan and pay for public transport, using the same technology as Oyster cards. Similarly, Estonia used similar technology on their mobile phones to park cars.

INVASION OF PRIVACY

As ‘marvelous’ as all this may seem, there is the dark side to this new invasion of mobile phone technology. As Brannan said,

“The technology is very powerful. If it didn’t have this dark side, it probably wouldn’t be as powerful”.

People are becoming increasingly suspicious of this ability to track others at all times.

 ALIENATED

I raised the question, “Will this new media alienate people?”, to which Brannan swiftly replied, “definitely”.

“There is a huge digital divide. However, there’s an image at the BBC of a granny holding an Ipad”.

I believe that people are made to feel inadequate for not being up to speed with the new technology. Just glancing at the BBC website proved this as it states:

“Have you used BBC Mobile services to keep abreast of football scores, or check the weather forecast, or dip into news headlines when you’re out and about?

If you have then you’re in a minority at the moment.”

THERE IS HOPE…?

Thankfully, Brannan confirmed that this new media will not be the end of ‘real’ reporters. He started by saying, “We still need journalists to verify…” (I love hearing those words, usually means that print has not died)… “what is going when Geo tags information is lacking”. Oh no, I cannot hide from the ‘geo tag’. I may as well kick my dusty type writer away and become a… Librarian.

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