We are living in the network society, you’ll often here people say. And they’d be right; we are becoming more and more inseparable from our mobile phones, tablets and laptops because of the fast access to the internet that they provide. If my phone dies while I’m on a train, I immediately scour the carriage for a plug socket (I also don’t leave the house without my charger anymore, partly due to Apple’s terribly battery life). I realise this is a bit ridiculous but like most people, I’m addicted to my smart phone and have a serious case of online FoMO (fear of missing out).
A culture has emerged of wanting everything instantly. No-one can wait until the evening to watch the news now: we need apps to give us breaking news updates. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, though. A lot of people speak about the network society as if it has ruined a previously better, more socially active and engaging society. I can understand that point of view but I would argue that they’re wrong. It has merely changed the way in which we socially interact. What is bad about being able to tweet someone in the United States, for example, instead of paying extortionate rates for a phone call? What’s bad about being able to document what you do each day via the story feature on Instagram or Snapchat, and in doing so create new friendships with people via social media? A lot of people don’t like change, and the change is coming thick and fast, but it is overly pessimistic to view the rapid emergence of the network society as a negative thing which is destroying people’s ability to socially interact. As I said, it’s just changed how we do it.
In the journalism industry, the network society has engulfed large parts of it. Every written publication needs a social media and online presence, because that’s how most people like to view content these days and it’s also a big opportunity to generate revenue from adverts. Journalists, newspapers, TV networks and radio stations have to constantly adapt to the changing platforms that people use to view their content.
Regarding our magazine production in the PPP module, we created an advert for an app that we would have, if the magazine were to be produced professionally. Our magazine, 3pm, is about football. Looking at other existing football magazines, FourFourTwo have a popular app and a website which publishes different content to the written mag. While Mundial Mag, who have just released their eighth issue, have a prominent social media presence in a relatively small online community, which has given them a small but loyal, and growing readership. I found out about that magazine on Twitter, and I now subscribe, just in case you needed proof of how important an online presence is. For sports magazines in particular, it’s more important because the nature of sports news is that it changes every day and week, so for a monthly publication, having a good website and social media accounts is important, to provide another place to publish articles, preventing them from becoming outdated before the printed issue is released.