Rumspringa. It is a rite of passage for many Amish communities of allowing youth to leave the homestead to experience the other world, and most who go out come back. It is a form of inoculation: the potential lures of a different life are dealt with, ensuring the inexperience with an outside world overwhelms just enough that the experience with the familiar seems more attractive in the comparison.
But Rumspringa is not just a phenomena among the Amish: many authorities seem generous by allowing their sheltered flock to experience the chaos of a wide open spaces with enigmatic cultural Shibboleths making the uninitiated feel as if they can never plant down roots, and hence, go back.
The way those in journalism assumed that their flock would go online, have their fun, start to feel scared or disappointed, and go back to their old authority the press.
The Internet was supposed to be a fad, a passing fancy, and the profession dragged their feet for about a quarter century.
But the flock took to social media and created their own Shibboleths and rules. They were not at the mercy of the unforgiving elements.
The reality has set in to a point, and why so many outlets talk about the future being digital. It's not: it's the present.
Being an authority is a state of mind, not a divine blessing of one's innate superiority. It requires a certain set of appealing filters that make the world seem warm and fuzzy for the authority as it strokes its ego.
But it is still a filter that shades reality and distorts perceptions of it. If your status of authority is removed, and you still think your filters will allow you to hold on to power, your perceptions are misaligned with reality, and you keep missing your mark.
And for a profession that is all about chronicling reality, faulty filters undermines credibility, especially when your former flock become disillusioned -- and know they have far more power than they did when you had control.
The problem is that the profession had a couple of decades, and let them go to waste, making them out of touch with how the world progressed. They are now the inexperienced ones out in the real world having no idea what the Shibboleths are in the chaos -- and it shows as it comes full circle...