Oslo just exploded. Or, rather, a building within Oslo has just exploded. And as the national TV station opens its doors to the world and allows us all in, so does Twitter allow us into the hearts and minds of those directly affected by such events.
It's like watching real time moral erosion. Everyone scrambling to 'play their part'. Everyone scrambling to be the authoritative commentator/collator. And it's not just the news agencies, any more, because the news agencies can't react as quickly as citizen journalists on the ground and so suddenly, we have people reporting in real time with no training and almost, I believe, such an obsessive focus on documenting that any decision which once would have been made that something was somehow 'too much' to show on TV, is suspended.
Social media has almost made it impossible to pause for long enough to consider content, and instead has become entirely focused on 'absolutely everything and right now'.
Of course, that implies the fault lies with the citizen journalists. Which it does not, because, quite simply, no one would bother if no one was watching. And where once upon a time news was consumed locally and nationally and then internationally as Reuters did its job, now we have no filter, we have no unbiased news agency, the role of Reuters has almost become unnecessary. So essentially, the drivers for this constant feed of news, from social media and from 24 hour news channels, is us.
All of us.
We are the consumers. We are the voyeurs. The people who demand to know and right now and who cares if there are body parts and blood dripping and mothers utterly distraught. Who cares if there are pictures of dismemberment and destruction. It's not for the sake of worried families we are shown this, that we view this - words could assuage fears just as easily.
They are for us.
And can we please, please, please all have a bit of a think about that and decide whether we are entirely comfortable with that? Because I am not. And if I am alone in that, then fine, I concede and promise to keep quiet. If I am not, then can we self moderate just a little?