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The Feiler Faster Thesis is an intriguing concept introduced by journalist Bruce Feiler in a 2000 article for The New York Times. It posits that the pace at which society processes information and adapts to new situations is accelerating, largely due to advancements in technology and communication. This thesis suggests that people are able to digest news, trends, and changes in their environment more quickly than ever before, leading to a faster-paced political, social, and cultural cycle. The implications of this theory touch on everything from election campaigns to consumer behavior, as the window for engaging with the public continually narrows.
While the Feiler Faster Thesis is not without its critics, it's supported by the observable uptick in the speed of news cycles and the rapid dissemination of information via social media platforms. For instance, a Pew Research Center study found that 68% of American adults get at least some of their news on social media, where information spreads swiftly. This fast-paced information exchange can lead to quicker public opinion shifts and more dynamic societal trends, underscoring the importance of staying current in an ever-accelerating world. As we navigate this landscape, understanding the Feiler Faster Thesis can help us better anticipate and react to the rapid changes around us.
The Feiler Faster Thesis (FFT) is a term used in modern journalism which holds that the increasing pace of society, particularly as seen in American politics, is matched and perhaps driven by the media's ability to report news and the public's desire for information. It is named after author Bruce Feiler, who is credited with developing the concept in regards to the 2000 primaries. Journalist Mickey Kaus coined the term "Feiler Faster Thesis" in an article published on 9 March 2000.
Mickey Kaus first wrote about the Feiler Faster Thesis on 24 February 2000 in his blog, Kausfiles, and in an article in the online magazine Slate, though he did not yet give it a name. In this article and the later one, Kaus explained that such technology as the Internet and 24-hour cable news allowed information to be reported at an accelerated rate. He also noted the compressed schedule of the 2000 US general election primaries and wrote that the trend of accelerated media coverage lessened the impact of the increased pace of politics. An important part of the Feiler Faster Thesis is that modern society is able to process information at an increased rate, not just that the rate of reporting information has increased.
The Feiler Faster Thesis traces its roots back further than Feiler, to a 1999 book by James Gleick called Faster. The main thesis of the book is that the pace of society, particularly in America, has increased in tandem with modern technology. People lead faster-paced, more hectic lives, spending less time on any given task in order to fit more in. Efficiency is the goal of our times, in everyday life, in politics, and in the exchange of information.
While one can easily see the Feiler Faster Thesis in action on a day-to-day basis, it remains unclear to what extent and in which direction the media, politics, and the general public are influencing each other to become faster and faster. Whether the driving force is people's desire for information or the sophistication of today's technology remains a matter of speculation.