There’s a poignantly written post over on Roland Krundt’s Tumblog reaffirming why I love the Web so much and why I have come to regard television as a bit archaic of late. Here’s an excerpt from Krundt’s post:
Let’s remember that television, except when subsidized by governments, is a commercial medium: It exists only to make money. You and I, my friends, are the meat in this sandwich. Regardless of how the medium makes its money — whether the business model is based on advertising, subscription, or something else — the ultimate source of value is our attention. So Herr’s calculation above isn’t as crazy as it seems: Our attention has economic value.
When TV in public spaces intrudes uninvited into our awareness, it’s a form of theft. The intrusion is most shamelessly predatory in spaces where, of necessity, people are temporarily trapped: for example, in elevators or taxi cabs. We’re being coerced, robbed of choice about how to allocate our attention. Our presence contributes to the revenues of the TV provider, but we’re not getting paid in return.
Krundt observes that TV is, quite obnoxiously, everywhere now—and he’s right. Think about it. From hotel lounges to restaurants, airports and subway station platforms—even the gas pump. Large (cheap) flat screen TVs have infiltrated every nook and cranny of our public spaces adding to the already pronounced visual and audible clutter assaulting our eyes and ears.
Walk into any pub or major restaurant chain lately? You’re more often than not bombarded with TV screens lining the walls, broadcasting the news and sporting highlights in continuous mind numbingly annoying loops. Remember when going to the pub was strictly about good friends and good conversation —not watching TV or the latest Pay-Per-View.
But so too the Web has become omnipresent, but in a good way. Yes the Internet is everywhere but not aggressively vying for our attention in the way TV crudely does. The Web is a more malleable form of distraction—if you want to call it that. The Web is everything television is not. The Web allows for active participation, not mere passive consumption. We can create and host our own channels, publish our own original content, connect with like-minded individuals, engage, learn, share, and the list goes on. But hey, flipping randomly from one channel to the next, well that’s just a brilliant past time activity.
I once overheard someone muse about going home after work, joyfully looking forward to an evening of televised content that, as he put it, didn’t make him think too much, but rather allowed him to turn his brain off for a while. How intriguing.
I don’t personally have anything against the old boob tube. The Web just renders it obsolete in so many ways, that’s all.