In the three years since I last attended the Catholic Press Association’s annual media convention, we’ve rapidly evolved as a society from the use of cell phones to the use of smartphones that offer the Internet, texting, a camera, and lots of other bells and whistles all rolled into one little gadget. As I prepared for the media convention in Pittsburgh June 22-24, I wondered how my colleagues in the Catholic press are adjusting to this new way of life.
My answer came quickly. During meals, in the middle of seminars, even while waiting for Mass to begin — wherever I went, scores of conventioneers from their 20s to 70s were glancing at the palms of their hands to issue and receive up-to-the-second updates on … everything. And no matter what the theme of any workshop I attended, virtually all touched upon our need as journalists to embrace the new social media and accompanying technology. Endless references were made to Twitter, Facebook, iPads and the like.
At my high school in the late 1970s, a single computer was available for our student body of 1,500 kids. In college I wrote papers on an electric typewriter, a practice now as primitive as chiseling on cave walls and using quill pens even though that was just 30 years ago.
"Real time" is the new standard. Advertisers and industry experts claim these technological advances will make my life easier, and often I agree. But there also are many moments when I feel like I’m running a series of sprints, getting exhausted in my efforts to keep pace with the latest inventions and slew of information at my fingertips. What’s it like for the rest of you?