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My news consumption and Mario Kart habits: basically the same

November 30, 2009
Mario Kart 64 title screen

Source: Mitch Malone's Flickr page

If you never figured this out about Mario Kart 64 (or bothered to read the owner’s manual) the gist of picking out kart drivers was that there were three “light” ones (Toad, Princess and Yoshi), three “heavy” ones (Donkey Kong, Wario and Bowser) and two mid-range ones (Mario and Luigi). The lights accelerated really fast but didn’t have a high top speed; the heavies took forever to get going, but went fast once they did; and the mediums sort of split the difference.

I know not picking Toad makes me the odd man out in my generation, but I was always a Mario guy. It didn’t really have anything to do with Mario being my favorite character or anything, I just couldn’t stand the restrictions at the far ends of the spectrum.

And so it is with news.

Twitter is my go-to for just about everything…but that’s where it stops. It’s an entry point (one that I come back to multiple times a day, but nevertheless). On occasion, it’s useful to follow a hashtag as a major news event unfolds, but every news story hits that point where information stops pouring in and the hashtag is hijacked by conjecture or spam (or both). At that point, I’m better off getting a recap of the situation from Wikipedia or a crafty MSM site.

Speaking of MSM, it seems to work inversely to what I just described. If I want to know what’s happening right now, I hardly ever turn to MSM sites. Even when they’ve got a Twitter widget installed, it doesn’t give me any cues when I’m outside that window (TweetDeck chirps and gives me a constantly refreshed Tweet count in the title of whatever tab it’s in). Information is posted sporadically and I often am left in the dark as to what reporters are doing in between posts that are time stamped 30-40 minutes apart. Hey, look, I know they’re working on the story, but perfectly reliable bloggers manage to Tweet between updates without much fuss.

So what’s the middle ground? In a lot of cases, it’s what I just mentioned—bloggers. But I won’t sit here and pretend that blogs take up that much of my media consumption time. A lot of blogs are limited by the amount of people they have running them (which is often one or just a few people), who are in turn limited by how much they can cover at once. So the real middle ground right now is my own personal filter, which jumps me from Twitter, to Google Reader, to blogs, to MSM (etc.) throughout the day. That could be fertile ground, though, as I suspect I’m not the only one with such herky-jerky habits.

Build a site (or something entirely new) that seamlessly combines rapid-fire Twitter updates with more substantive summary posts and even more substantive topic pages and you may have something that I can stick to for an entire day. Then again, maybe there’s a thrill or something that can only be satiated by jumping around a lot….

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