We were on our way back to Abu Dhabi when we had a stopover in Jumeirah Lake Towers for a late lunch/early dinner. The restaurant we decided to dine in specialized in international cuisine at a fair price. The group just came from a long two-day conference in Dubai and I wanted to rush home.
Exhausted and hungry, I thought of finishing my meal fast. Then, like a mirage in the middle of a desert, a shelf of old pocket books zoomed in and greeted me from afar – in the corner close to the restaurant’s bar. That familiar feeling of forgotten excitement was brought back to life within me, so I hurried to the shelf and immediately spotted a Stephen King horror novel, with which, to make the long story short, I had been enjoying reading up until we settled our bill.
Books and printed materials have been my weakness eversince. Back in my student years, I would frequent the library and grab a good book to read. After a gruelling week of exams, I would reward myself with a Nancy Drew, a Danielle Steele or a Mark Twain especially when I knew I performed well in my exams. The scent of old books in paperback from a library appeals to me more than that of new unread ones from a bookstore.
As a mass communication student I was not a typical talkative, sociable type. The only thing I wanted was to hone my writing skill, hence my strong interest in the course. When a professor asked me which field I wanted to pursue after graduation, he was dismayed to learn I would want to be a print journalist, a writer for a newspaper or a magazine – contrary to where most of the female masscomm students laid their eyes upon: TV broadcasting.
This was back in the days when Friendster was a student thing, Facebook was somewhere in the making, the term ‘social media’ was unheard of, and the one-way mainstream mass media (print, TV, radio) was still the mainstream. Just until social media dared to claim the spotlight and we imagine it say, “Step aside, mainstream! We’re so cool we’re gonna be the next mainstream!”
The coming of age of the millenial babies (now 35 years and below) has now allowed them to run, if not dominate, the world’s activities. Bringing a distinct character of wanting to be heard (without becoming a journalist by profession), they have brought with them the need of a two-way mass medium, thus social media was not only brought to life, but also has become an unprecedentedly huge part of every interpersonal activity we know today.
To prove its dominant existence, here’s a list of what I believe are objectively true (feel free to come up with your own list):
1. Giant broadcasting networks have long adapted the use and incorporation of social media to reach more audience and encourage interaction.
2. Print media have also long accepted the fact that there is a necessity to produce an electronic version of their printed editions, hence the imperative creation of online dailies, magazines, etc which encourage interaction.
3. Information of any kind has never been provided and obtained this swift.
4. The list of public influencers has become longer, having to include not only celebrities, politicians, mass media personalities, but also regular individuals who take to social media and enjoy a bulk of followers.
5. Marketing plans of companies, big and small alike, incorporate the use of social media not only to reach the ‘millenial’ market, but also to cater to their need of one-to-one marketing strategy in real time.
In this digital world when individuals go online to virtually socialize and make things happen conveniently faster than ever, I refuse to ‘stay connected’ 24/7. I still prefer the good old ‘rustic’ way of enjoying a printed book to read. Print’ s not dead, not dying. At least not yet.