Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Television...so 5 minutes ago

Each and everyday, I go online at least ten times checking my email, Facebook, twitter, CNN.com etc. Without these outlets I would not know what was going on in the world. Without Facebook, I wouldn't have learned that Bernie Mac had died, and without CNN.com I wouldn't be able to keep an update on the ever-evolving economy. However, this lifestyle is quite different from that of my parents or grandparents. My parents get their news through 24 hour networks and other news programs on the television, as do my grandparents. That being said, how can we determine what medium offers "presentation to the masses?"
While generations before me might disagree, I find the Internet to be the more accessible and reliable medium for news and mass information. Unfortunately, studies show that only a minority of the population/world is actually online. How can we account for the millions of people (who seem to be 55+, lower education, lower income, etc.) who do not have immediate access to the Internet? The government has attempted to make big attempts to broaden the usage of the Internet through the implementation of the Digital Divide Summit (1999). The government hopes to push the wide usage of the Internet because they see it as an "economic emergency." In Chapter 10, Dance says that many people think of the Internet as the "major driving force of economic growth." It is unfortunate that the government is typically slow in its push for certain changes in our nation/economy. Especially in a time where we need major economic change, maybe a focus on making Internet a norm in our lifestyles would give the economy the push it needs to get out of this recession.
In my opinion, the Internet has several advantages over television. The Internet is a haven for public thought and opinion. Our society relishes in this outlet for free speech. While some things should be censored, most of the content on the Internet is not. This is both a good thing and bad. But it does help that you can find almost anything on the Internet. I find it especially good that you can surf the web, read the news, and check your email without disrupting commercial breaks. While there are advertisements, they do not take away from the actual content on the web. Unfortunately, advertisers use every aspect of television to sell their products (i.e. product placement), which causes you to question the validity of the content.
In the future, we will come to find that television is dead. In fact, each year, television viewership decreases because everyone watches their shows online. I probably watch about 30 minutes of television a week, but I spend many more hours watching my favorite shows online. While the Internet is rising in numbers, and seems to be more useful in daily life, we must remember that we are faced with a whole new set of issues concerning privacy and publicity. As Rushkoff said, "we cannot let ourselves be fooled into thinking that simply having the right to select our data with the click of a computer mouse instead of a TV remote means we have won the Information Arms Race."

1 comment:

  1. there's a sense in which television is more and more becoming a part of the internet, and perhaps will be viewed as one of its premium services.