Ferris Wheel

by Daniel Isler

Ferris wheel. How excited was little Daniel when he first met one, back when he was a six year old. The colors, the lights, the size, the height, the stories from his older sisters. Everything pushed him to agree to dad’s suggestion, and jump on one of the carts and go up to the sky. Unfortunately for little Daniel, half way up he felt the disturbing, unique feeling of gummy bears, chocolate ice-cream and juice all mixing and turning in his stomach – nausea. The colors, the lights, the size, the height – all overwhelmed the little boy. “Tell them to stop the wheel”, said Daniel to his dad, “I want to get off”. But this was not part of the wheel-deal.

Ocean_City_Ferris_Wheel

When I started my Master studies for journalism and media, all I had in my mind was how I want to be a serious, world changing journalist. I worked before as a spokesperson, I wrote for several magazines and worked closely with journalists from all around the globe. I have never considered myself to be one, but I was definitely eager to become one. I arrived to Denmark in order to pursue this dream, gain the tools and set out to bring change to reality through my keyboard. I am ending the first year of my studies with a growing feeling of repulse of the notion of becoming a journalist – I want to get off this wheel. What happened?

Twitter happened. And Facebook happened. And smart-phones happened. These alone were no problem – the only problem was that these things seemed to happen without me. Most of my fellow students stated they were journalists, and I felt I am behind. So many of them are highly ‘connected’ – in every sense of the word – hundreds of Twitter followers, constant social media updates, one or two top of the line ultra smart phones, all sorts of mobile screens that I have never saw. And I considered myself to be up to date. Fool me.

I could have easily dismissed all this by convincing myself that this is just a trend of grown up people playing with fancy toys, concerned with the chaff instead of collecting the wheat. But when entering the classroom, this easy solution went straight to the rubbish bin. It seemed like every class included, at one point or another, an emphasis of how strongly connected are the future of journalism and social media. The world is changing? Tweet about it. Media and culture? Facebook will revolutionize this relationship. Even the research methods classes pushed us to explore new areas in journalism research. You can guess where these “new areas” were.

Since I am not a six year old anymore, I decided to not get panicked. I bravely opened a Twitter account, and started scribbling ideas for a Master thesis that will involve the “future”. But the sense of nausea did not go away. Images of the future me sitting in an overly “happy” office, analyzing tweets and wearing a buttoned shirt I hate swirled with ones of myself forgetting how to connect words to a coherent idea, or sitting in a cool bar without leaving my iPhone. At this point, gummy bears and juice seemed like a nicer option.

And so I decided. If this is the future of journalism, I am fine with no future as a journalist. I do not criticize the phenomena itself. If this is it, I accept it – just as I wouldn’t expect psychiatrists to use shockwaves on mental patients just for old time’s sakes. But it is not for me. This frenetic, anti-social and lazy way of doing journalism is not what I signed up for. So I grew a beard, deserted Twitter, scribbled a few, more noble ideas for my thesis – and got off the wheel. See you in real life – the resolution off the screen is amazing.

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