One can not overestimate the effect that recent technologies such as the internet and smartphones have had on society. In the span of just over a decade, internet usage has exploded from millions or users to bills. Over that period the number of web sites online has grown exponentially. Just in the last few years, social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter have added a combined one billion users. In short, society has become more connected than ever. Information has become much easier to find but more difficult to filter.
Society has traditionally used the mainstream news organizations to filter information for us. World events are not anything new to the internet-era. Throughout history we still succeeded in wars, suffered through recessions and depressions, elected presidents and representatives, married loved-ones, attended graduations and rallies. Events have always occurred over the course of time. In the 1900s the media reported these events in the form of print, radio, and television. Real-world events were described in printed words and vocalized over the airwaves by the mainstream news outlets. The ability for one to describe world events was financially constrained. Not everyone could afford to own a newspaper, radio station, or television network. The limited number of media outlets mean less information available and less information to digest.
The internet, however, has fundamentally changed the landscape. News organizations continue to maintain some power under this new medium. For the first time ever, however, the billions of connected people can also produce and consume news. This has led to an explosion in the amount of information available. The internet makes publishing news cheap and easy and it has also made consuming news cheap and easy. These two lead to an inordinate amount of information available to us, more than any society has seen in the history of the world.
The emergence of the internet over the last two decades has led to a proliferation of technologies to facilitate the publishing and consumption of information for the average person. In the next 10 years, however, expect the opposite to happen. The powerful technologies will be the ones that perfectly confine and intelligently funnel only relevant news to people. Nobody can effectively cover all sources including web sites, blogs, and social networking sites. We do not have the time and we do not have the energy. We need technology to help us. Expect the next to wave of innovation to include more intelligent news sites that effectively and efficiently distill information for us.