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Is ‘Instant News’ Good or Bad?

By: Steve Johnson

7/3/2008 - 40 Comments

The Internet age has brought us instant news while propelling emotional swings.

The internet has brought us instant news about events all around the world. A decade ago, many of the events that happen in the economy and around the world did not reach people for days, months and sometime years. 

Helping people

Instant news has helped increase response and mobilization of national disasters and foreign aid. Instant news has also brought the world an insider view into the wars and acts of war around the world, giving real time analysis to the destructive nature of war which has let to stronger debates about the value of war. 

What about economic news? Here are a few of the headline news stories from yesterday.

Does access to this information help the rest of us that are not affected by this information or does it just create more anxiety?  With the consumer price index at a decade low, instant access to economy bad news is quickening the responsiveness of consumers to reduce their spending – which can quicken the drop in retail profits and quicken the drop of stock prices values. Instant news has contributed  to both positive and negative market responses. 

On the other hand, information like this can drastically help families prepare for an economic downturn by getting out of debt, living on a budget, downsizing and increasing savings – which can help reduce the likelihood of suffering a financial hardship like a foreclosure or bankruptcy. 

In some ways, instant information has become like a drug and the Internet has become the pusher.  This can be seen in the way many people have become addicted to online news, online chat rooms, social media websites and blogs. If you unplug yourself you suffer from withdrawal and if you consume more you further your dependency.

Instant news is like a catch-22.  If you ignore it, you lose out on opportunities that others are taking advantage of, like refinancing your home when interest rates suddenly drop or selling your home before prices suddenly begin dropping. If you consumer instant news, you are at risk of becoming addicted and at risk of increasing your emotional reactions, whether they be anxiety and fear or hope and optimism. 

As predicted

It’s interesting to look at the predictions about the increase in knowledge that we have today. The book of Daniel says this,

"But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." Daniel 12:4

The ‘information age’ is definitely upon us, with 80% percent of the world's total knowledge brought forth in the last decade and that 90% percent of all the scientists who have ever lived are alive today.

The reality is that instant news and the spread of knowledge is here to stay and is more likely to increase in its speed of spreading rather than decrease. This is the world we now live in.  How are you adjusting?

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