This past Tuesday (January 12) I was on Facebook and noticed that one of my FB friends had joined the group WFBQ-JIMMY-MAD-DOG-MATIS SHOULD-NOT-HAVE-GOT-FIRED
Huh, I said to myself, while also pondering the grammatical error in the group title. Didn’t know that had happened. How did I miss it?
Back at the Facebook page, there were dozens of comments of support for Jimmy, and even comments from Jimmy himself (Be nice to Q95, he said. He still has lots of friends there). The page had been started way back on Saturday, January 9, at 11:52 am. But there was no news anywhere else that I could find via Google. So I blogged about it on Tuesday afternoon, and then, as I often do, used Twitter to promote the blog post and the news. Meanwhile, good old RSS immediately fed my blog post to LinkedIn, Smaller Indiana and Facebook.
It took until Wednesday morning (January 13) for the news to hit IBJ, and until that afternoon for Indy Star to cover it. FOUR DAYS after the Facebook page was started, the mainstream media was finally on it.
My blogging about Jimmy’ s departure is an inconsequential piece to the story, because I don’t have a large readership. Every bit of communication sends out its own ripples, though, and that is exactly why I auto-feed my blog to social networking sites, to extend the reach as much as possible.
What is huge is that the news got out on Facebook and people were jumping in to publicly support Jimmy Matis long before the news media was able to catch up and publish something.
That’s not a knock on our local journalists who do a heroic job in the face of great challenges. It’s a reflection on the contemporary news cycle, as well as the increasingly limited resources at these media companies, as they struggle with their disappearing bottom lines.
It’s certainly true that Twitter and Facebook are proving to be the first–and sometimes only–means of communication when tragedy strikes, such as in Haiti. What’s just as significant to me is that it is no longer possible for big media to consistently deliver the news to the rest of us fast than we can deliver it to each other, even though our grammar may not always be up to par.
PS: My best wishes to Jimmy “Mad Dog” Matis, a quality guy who I”m confident will land on his feet.