Thursday, August 13, 2015

One media to rule them all

While a millennial might not think so, I did grow up around quite a bit of technology.

In 1984, I remember my mother making a comment. By that time we had both a home computer and a VCR. She said, "seems there should be a way we could use those two together." Have one technological device work in tandem with the other to make things easier. Made sense. But in the ensuing years, it just never seemed practical. That is until all the talk began of interconnectivity, "smart houses," and "the Internet of things." Increased machine-to-machine communication, "smart" objects, on and on until one might argue there is one big integrated technology. Turns out Mom was about 30 years or so ahead of her time.

A recent guest on Coast to Coast AM has made me wonder about moving not just from an integrated "Internet of things" but an "Internet of single media."

Lauren Weinstein is an expert in technology and security. On the program, she mentioned how mobile devices have, of course, allowed for increased connectivity for almost everyone. Mobiles have also altered the way people watch TV. Television is no longer television as we once knew it as more and more people watch content on the go or/also later than it originally airs. Hence the rise of straight to Netflix programming and the like. Advertising dollars are of course following this trend. There are few if any shows left that don't carry Twitter hashtags, web links, and Facebook addresses with them. This even goes for news programming. Internet and TV are essentially one medium now and that was where incessant efforts are being made to reach the consumer. I imagine it won't be long before more ad dollars are being spent on the Internet than any other medium...if it hasn't happened already.

It's not the sort of news I keep up with.

I don't know how I feel about this. I know I'm always harping about the future and this merging of technologies should be exciting. Somehow, when it's couched in this way, it just leaves me feeling cold. Yeah, I know that consumerism drives most everything forward and that in essence, I'm a consumer too. It sounds so cheap, though. I'd like to think I'm much more than that and if we as a species are going to evolve, the whole idea of capital "consumerism" needs to be left far in the rear view mirror. I also can't help but feel smirking disdain when I'm watching CNN or another news source cover a developing event and they provide hashtags so that the viewer (no, I guess we're really "the consumer") can tweet or chat live over the plane crash or whatever it is that is befalling people. It just comes off as cheap and shallow.

Of course technology has amazing benefits and watching the Internet and television merge into one single yet all new medium is rather exciting.

But I'd like to think it can be more than just new and efficient channels for marketers to barrage me with sales for things I neither want nor need.

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