“…millions of people are changing their habits when it comes to information acquisition.” – Hugh Hewitt, Blog
Technological advancements make television, radio, and newspaper a medium of the past and cater us to the age of search engines and social networking sites. However, the overwhelming information on the internet is suffocating us, leading to the rise of the age of influencers to whom people are looking up for reliable information.
The circulation of newspapers is now declining, and the trust of people to the mainstream media is now losing, if not dying. How we come into this situation and where do people transfer their trust to?
The Information Age Is Dead
Imagine if coronavirus exploded before Google and Facebook were born, how would people know about the pandemic virus? Well, of course, they’ll switch on the TV or radio and wait for random information about the infection or look for a stall of newspapers hoping to find an article where COVID-19 is featured.
In the new millennium, however, the case is different. Information about the 2019 novel coronavirus is more exploding than the infection itself. And yet, information now is being scrutinized and weighed in the balance starting from the time when fake news became a trend about four years ago.
“Knowing [a piece of] information is not the same as owning it and following it through…Remember: we’re drowning in information, but we’re starving for wisdom.” – Tony Robbins
The time when fake news drifted to become a common message bearer was the time when the information age died. As a result, netizens are now looking for loud voices–we call influencers–that they trust to be knowledgeable enough in handling information.
As Hugh Hewitt wrote in his book Blog, “people are changing their habit when it comes to information acquisition.” It seems that the plethora of information online has transformed how people consume information and how they want to get and embrace it. The challenge, however, is with the words of Tony Robbins: “we are starving for wisdom.”
Imagine the time when you want to buy a gadget, food, or clothes without using a mobile application to browse for selections. Needlessly to say, you’ll go out of your house and visit your favorite mall. The real case would be you’ll be hopping from one shop or restaurant to the other to search for the specific food or item you are looking for.
In the 21st century, the situation is far different. Though department stores and supermarkets are still available, people now are depending on mobile apps to visit Lazada, Shopee, Amazon, Food Panda, or Grab for food or products they want to buy with just a couple of clicks.
With the emergence of various influencers, going to Shopee is now almost similar to going to a mall. Consumers are not only browsing for the selection of items. They are now reading reviews or watch videos from their favorite vloggers or YouTubers unboxing a product they are planning to buy.
Gaining information, nowadays, is just at our fingertips. With your smartphone, you would not already require yourself to go somewhere, like a mall or library, to seek help about what you want to know about.
Aside from information about items, netizens are now looking for online information about a political or social issue from influencers, such as bloggers, social media icons, YouTubers, or book authors. Though people are now transferring their trust to influencers, another challenge now is choosing from the overwhelming number of personalities going out in various platforms, including TikTok that’s going trendy now.
Since information is now cheap, it could already make you either knowledgeable or gullible. That fact at this age of influencers might even kill the old mantra that knowledge is power. If information now bears fake news, then gaining information will not necessarily give you either knowledge or power. For you to have a voice at this age, you either have to look for someone knowledgeable enough to dissect information or be a powerful influencer yourself.