While it may have taken humans thousands of years to progress from oral to written to audio and then to video communications, in the past five years, the Internet has accelerated at a breakneck pace through all of these different communication transmission stages. It started as a way to post and communicate text and still pictures, then moved to digital voice and music, and then took a giant step to video delivery, bringing you news, sports, movies, whenever and wherever you wanted to view them. The Internet is now the prime platform for distributing video content, effectively replacing your video store and your cable or broadcast distribution.
This rapid availability of all types of information has changed the face of the world. Enter the social networks and YouTube as another step forward in this information distribution process: the Internet as a broadcasting means coupled with ordinary people as producers. This has the potential to bring us a quantum leap forward in obtaining detailed and accurate information and in our ability to hear from all voices to form our own opinion. It has now become common to see the leading news network actually get detailed information from Twitter and YouTube. While this democratization of information communication gives us access to more information than ever before, it does so at a price. Now everything is presented the same way, with equal “airtime,” so to speak. How do we recognize the truth and what is meaningful from what is meaningless data, hype, or even blatant lies? How do we sort effective and thorough research from idiotic claims? In text, audio, and commercial TV channels, information professionals acted as “filters” (often less and less effective ones) to provide some sort of credibility and context to what was written, heard, or shown. Now, with information coming at us from every possible avenue and content producer, we are left with our own resources to do this very important filtering.
We will need more analysts.