Tag Archives: social media

TV PLUS OR MINUS?

TV Wasteland

I’m beginning to think that we may have reached the end of an era. Picture this if you can, I am sitting on the sofa typing this, having done a quick round on Facebook and Twitter, some members of the family are getting ready to go out, and my husband sits on the other sofa READING A BOOK! Now this is not unheard of in our house, but the frequency with which this is now happening is alarming! After all it’s winter, it’s cold out, it’s dark (low energy bulbs) we’ve had dinner and what we would normally do now is sit down and watch the telly but there’s NOTHING ON!

Now don’t get me wrong, I can live without it, in fact large parts of my childhood were spent devoid of TV. I still remember my parents excitedly anticipating watching Wimbledon, because, in the early Seventies, TV was finally coming to Darwin, in the Northern Territory of Australia, that and the cyclone warnings still stick (possibly those should have been a little more memorable – but that’s another story). However, since then TV has been a big part of my life. The return to England brought Dallas, Alias Smith and Jones, The Good Life, The Generation Game and bless ’em Morecombe and Wise. In the university common room, I watched Hutch get shot and saw Evonne Cawley (Goolagong) damage her Achilles Tendon and bow out of Wimbledon. The 80s – the Jewel in the Crown, Edge of Darkness – the Nineties – ah now the Nineties.

In the early Nineties a nice man knocked at our door in London and said we could have another phone line and free movies for a month if we signed up to all that Cable London, Sky etc. had to offer. Our son had just been born, Twin Peaks and the X-Files were heading our way and we couldn’t get out much, so movies, the Cartoon Network and the Children’s Channel filled our home. Again I would like to remind all two of my readers that I can use other landmarks to mark off my life – but I don’t want to bore you two any more than I am already, with an account of my annual holidays, work failures or hospital visits.

My point is this, in the past 20 years we have enjoyed most of what modern technology has had to offer in terms of our viewing pleasure. I love TV, I enjoy, movies, series, science fiction, police drama, the occasional true story, costume drama and current affairs, and have sought to find those dramas where ever they were offered. The West Wing on Sky, The Wire on FX, but they’re all gone or are going. The great TV dramas that we once cosied up to on week nights, from ER, Stargate Universe to Caprica, are all disappearing with very little worth the extra money for (over and above the BBC licence fee) in their place. Terrestrial TV, Freesat, is looking better than it has for a while, buying box sets of series like Dexter, makes sense if we drop our subscriptions, and if we do that we might treat ourselves to the iTunes purchase of The Daily Show since More4 has dropped the only decent satire they have, and if I am thinking like this, the original TV Addict (no I didn’t go on the show) where is TV going to go in the next few years?

There is no doubt that social media is cutting into the viewing habits of young people, as a teacher of Media Studies, I can no longer assume that they know the texts I am discussing, pretty soon I will have set watching a DVD as homework and they will view that with the same disdain they apply to being asked to read a book. However as I sit by the fire, using my new technology inkpen and inkpot, with the wide screen silent on the wall, we are seriously considering cutting our subscription to the all bells, all smells, plus, any time, all channels, interactive vote here, TV and going back to the good old minimalist TV provision of terrestrial telly buying in the extras and renting via the internet. Probably the only thing that stops us doing that right now, is our APPALLING BROADBAND provision! Maybe…..maybe I should stop watching TV altogether – like this article here says – turns out it’s bad for your health!  5 Ways Your TV Is Killing You!

Connection Fast

YEP, that’s what I said, “connection fast” not “fast connection” – yesterday I went through an enforced abstinence from the internet, interweb or/and the vast world out there on the virtual planet. No shared pictures, no news feed, no looking up whoever the hell that was in the afternoon movie, where did he live? When did he die and yikes! That was his spouse? Nope, I was flung back to the 1980s, only the telly (“television” – according to Jon Stewart – check out him and John Oliver on the cross cultural political debate – at least for the next few days, after that, those of us in the UK – CAN’T SEE IT!! because… well because “the man” says so)- anyway, only the telly, a book, and the garden to fall back on. I did have Tetris on the iphone,  but no signal, our mobile (cell – US translation) phone, is merely decorative in our home, if there is no wifi, because there’s no frakin signal either! Anyway, as a consequence of this enforced abstinence – did I rediscover the benefits of a signal free landscape just as many people bathed in the silence of the flight free skies last week, did I wallow in the virtual silence in the same way, with no screen to gaze at, only the fabulous view from our home? Nah! Did I frak!

I confess that in my neck of the woods there is a substantial “hands on” movement, a lot of green community action, allotments abound, open studios, fringe festivals, music and food. The Farmers’ Market is the best in the west, Saturday mornings are a blissful combination of good coffee, organic cooking and gossip with mates, but that don’t mean I ain’t wedded to mah tech!Winter Market

Let’s face it what houseproud soul (usually a woman) doesn’t love their washing machine, Hoover (Dyson) or their car? All labour saving devices that make the job easier just like the way Facebook puts pen pals a second away. None of that waiting six weeks for a letter to arrive, or trying to decide between air mail and service mail.

Watching the latest #leadersdebate, American style, this week, was a made both amusing and informative by the Twitterers, who commented on what was being said with knowledge and humour. I particularly liked Simon Pegg tweeting that Gordon Brown had just told an 84 year old lady, he was going to do something about pensions in 2016 -still something to aim for, for us all!

Aside from good social media, my edTech needs are increasingly dependent on broadband, or, at least, the quality of what I do is informed and improved by the sharers on Slideshare, other resource sites, blogs, and emails between colleagues. Yes, there is some rubbish out there, and I may well be part of it, but, I am glad to be back online!