Sunday, January 22, 2012


"Did you get my text, Q?"
It's Sunday, January 22, 2012 at 7:03 AM. My cell phone buzzes with a text message. I reach over from my bed to the night stand and pick it up. It's a message from a friend of mine from high school. It simply reads: "R.I.P. Joe Pa."

Huh? I sit up and try to focus my eyes. I read the message again... "R.I.P. Joe Pa."

20 minutes later, I get another text from someone else with a similar message. Now, I'm really pissed. Not because I have some sort of connection to the late, great Penn State Coach, Joe Paterno, who passed away from cancer. But, because someone has disturbed me out of my sleep trying to be Katie Couric. Cell phones and social networks have turned everyone into news anchors. In a world where news travels the speed of a click, I'm stuck with a bunch of people trying to be the first to deliver breaking news.

On the night prior to this, CBS Sports released a report from a Pennsylvania blogger that Joe Paterno had died. No one bothered to verify the report, but CBS, wanting to be first, posted the false report and later had to retract it and post an apology. However, before the apology was posted, the false report generated tons of tweets and Facebook status updates. I even got into a brief argument with a former co-worker of mine about it. She posted Joe Pa had died and I told her the allegations were premature. Then she had the nerve to get snarky with me.

Of course, she never responded to my last update. She was so anxious to be the first person to announce breaking news that she was willing to look like an idiot doing so. And to announce the death of a person who was still alive on top of that! When singer, Etta James, died this past Friday, a 20-something FB "friend" of mine posted "R.I.P. Etta James. You will be missed." Someone replied to her and asked what her favorite Etta James song was and the lady never replied. The post was subsequently deleted by the young lady and my guess is: she probably had never knowingly heard an Etta James song in her life. She just wanted to be the Walter Cronkite of Facebook and post that Etta had died. I'm guessing she was even too lazy to Google Etta's hit songs and fake a reply to the post. I saw the same thing happen when Elizabeth Taylor died. People who only knew the overweight Liz were baffled at some of the photos they saw of the young, absolutely stunning, Liz. They never really knew who she was, but felt the need to post "she will be missed."

Social media and cell phones have turned our society into a bunch of low-budget reporters. Everything gets filmed. Everything gets passed on to millions of people online. Can you imagine the number of YouTube hits the Rodney King beatings would have received had it happened in 2012? Can you even fathom the overload on Twitter had it been around when John Lennon was shot? Or what about the Facebook updates you would have seen from Baby Jessica falling in the well. (BTW, if you don't know any of those stories, then I suggest that you Google them and get caught up on some American Pop Culture history).

Baby Jessica rescue in 1987
I'm a huge fan of technology, but I hate when it falls into the wrong hands. Social media and cell phones allow for people who crave attention to have an opportunity to entertain their fans followers. Actual knowledge of the topic need not apply... as long as you're first.



  1. What's your number? I want to be your personal newscaster, but in an inconsequential way.

    For example, "RIP, Raffy the stuffed giraffe. My dog just tore it to shreds" and shit like that.

  2. There is no excuse for not verifying that kind of information. I understand wanting to be the first to report something but why would you ever trust a blogger to know inside information like that? I am from PA, grew up knowing Joe Paterno as a great man, an legend in his own right, and an institution in the state. I loathe Penn State...always have...but the man himself was always impressive to me. I hate that he passed with such a smudge on his character after a lifetime of good deeds but the false reporting was ridiculous.

    What is worse is that this morning it was the subject of laughter and mockery as everyone informed people "This time he's really dead" "he's dead this time...really." What a shame. Disgusting really.

    1. Yeah, it's become a joke. The man was reported dead multiple times since 7 PM CST on yesterday. Twitter was going nuts.

  3. that's often the problem these days it's no longer 24 hour news ...its instantaneous news

    1. I don't think there should be a such thing as 24 hour news. Right now, you basically get 4 hours of news and 20 hours of talking heads with an agenda.

  4. Just for the record, Q...I'm 40 (not 20-something), and of course, my favorite Etta James song is "At Last" - it's even in my iPod, promise! LOL

    There is a reason I rarely watch the news - because too many people on FB fuck it up for me in their status updates. Sometimes I'll see some warped version of somebody "reporting" something in their status and then I might go to the news website to verify it - or to get the "less fucked up" version of it. Honestly - I don't know who is worse, the actual media or the junkies who get off on posting the shit on their status.

    Oh yeah - and I remember when Michael Jackson died - how many friggin' people texted me that day! UGH. My response to each and every one was, "And?!"

    1. LOL! Yeah, you're right. It's hard to decide which one is worse to be honest. When Jacko died, I think the internet shut down. Social media is a beast these days and everyone in the asylum thinks they're a reporter. They should just do like us and blog their opinions.


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