Saturday, March 23, 2013

All I Wanted to Do…

All I wanted to do was check the daily headlines on the internet. Just a simple click and I could discover the latest news stories.

A couple of times each week when I perform the same task, I uncover some huge story. Two weeks or so ago, I was clicking around and learned that the Pope had resigned. I'm not Catholic and that event really was of no importance to me personally. But it was quite newsworthy and a big story at the time.

Recently some of the internet's major websites have revamped their formats, greatly reducing their readability. One websites on which I depend and visit often has changed its entire look with horrible results. Instead of finding tidy sections beneath subject headings, it now offers viewers one long, continuous ribbon of garbage. Stories and features are combined in a mish-mash, sandwiching subjects like politics with issues like how to keep your man interested and recipes for internal body cleansing.

Other tried-and-true websites seem to have jumped on the bandwagon to remodel. Perhaps this is the internet's method of Spring cleaning. But it is generally annoying and unwelcome, based on my personal experience and the myriad of comments posted from fellow users.

Currently, websites devote a great deal of space daily to certain "celebrities" that someone must have declared as "celebrities." These are people with no discernable talent and no claim to fame other than having a "reality" TV show or having given birth to multiple children at once. It's surprising in this era of constant public criticism that some people can become the subject of ridicule yet seek continual exposure for their lack of judgment.

Forget the "fashion police". Where are the "good taste police" when we need them?

A recent website review included the following articles:
An upcoming interview with a convicted child molester
Details of Obama's trip to the Mideast
Where classic toys are made
Punxsutawney Phil is in hot water
Effective beauty gadgets
Latest celebrity couple to break up (names to be inserted)

That list was a brief sampling. But if you have come across the reshuffling of "news" and "information" on some websites recently, you will recognize the scrambled and nearly incoherent approach.

First, why just throw all of the subjects into the mix? What's wrong with guiding the viewer/reader to a topic of his/her particular interest? The tossed salad approach sounds like an idea originating from a 20-something. Unnecessary reshuffling of good ideas -- in such areas as network television and marketing -- often smack of inexperience.

In addition, doesn't it seem like we have more serious issues on which to focus right now? I'm all for diversion from everyday concerns but focus is necessary to get attention where it belongs.

Things in our nation right now look fairly grim. The U.S. Congress is a joke. Those folks can't seem to get it together long enough to agree on anything. The result is the silly sequester now in effect. The budget is important to the entire nation and putting off its resolution can't continue.

We have scores of real problems in this country including:
Poor education: School budgets are being slashed and large cities are forced to consolidate schools. The quality of education continues to slip.
Stagnant job growth: Let's be honest. Many of the jobs lost in recent years will never be coming back. The future looks bleak for the long term.
Increasing health care costs: Health care is absurdly expensive. Too many people have to choose whether to eat or see the doctor.
Gasoline at nearly $4 per gallon: The cost of gasoline is as volatile as the stock market. People who must commute to work have no option but to fill the tank.
Crumbling infrastructure: Resolving this problem should be high on the list. Roads and bridges must be repaired. But who will pay the tab?

The internet is a wondrous link between the public and news sources. However, it seems vastly misused when space is devoted to insignificant matters. No doubt, large, widely-read websites have trouble satisfying the unending appetites of the public. A complex website is like a ravenous pet which demands food and attention 24/7. But selectivity should be a high priority.

We deserve more than rehashing of the same stories and constant babble. Websites managers: give us actual information, not merely opinion and shallow coverage.

We deserve more.

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