Thursday, April 23, 2009

I want my emteevee

What do you think would happen if all TV shows were to be magically rendered unavailable to viewers (i.e., no cable, no satellite, no hulu.com, no Netflix season DVDs, etc) for an entire year?

Nielson says that individuals average 4 hours, 35 minutes a day of television viewing. That doesn't include internet and TV-on-DVD watching. Even still, back-of-the-envelope calculation says that's 500 billion hours.

What on earth would the citizenry do with 500 billion hours of free time? Would we see giant churches? A shift to movies? An explosion in live entertainment? An explosion in the restaurant industry? Riots? Revolution (aka, an explosion in the pipe-bomb industry)? People... in... libraries?

A link posted by twifkak recently noted that TV is to the information age as gin was to the industrial age - a means through which society copes with a structure to which it hasn't quite figured out how to adapt yet. Normal people are producing and sharing more content than ever before due to the internet. Would TVs temporary hiatus push that revolution over the edge, or are we not there yet? Or perhaps we're placing a little too much faith in teleology here, perhaps that's not where we're going at all...

If you have a TV, what would you do with your time? Is your alternative method for allocating free time superior to your current, TV-based one? If so, why are you behaving the way you are presently?

If you don't have a TV, think about people that you know who do. What do you think they would do? What do you do with the time you could be spending TV? Do you think your free time choices are superior, or even that you yourself are superior to your TV viewing friends?

2 comments:

twifkak said...

Aha, the open-ended blog post. Very good. That means you're reaching Phase II. It won't be long, now, before you're in Scoble territory.

I think what I would do without any TV shows depends on my surroundings. Right now, my home consists of a TV, a laptop, a kitchen, and a balcony. My guess is the laptop and the kitchen would get more use -- not in productive ways like learning something new, but by consuming (real or virtual) junk food.

Because of this, I want to set up a decent sound system, so that, lacking TV, I can play music. It's my hope that this will encourage me to take on longer term projects... Not sure why; just a hunch. Also, I want to listen to more music. :)

Regardless of my surroundings, I believe that instead of watching an hour or two of TV in a half-asleep stupor, I would take more "daydream" moments -- not actual naps, but stare at the ceiling, recover your brain sort of moments. I believe these are healthy moments that I could use more of, so I am eager to try cancelling my cable subscription (or at least unplugging the coax :).

melch said...

Apparently I surf the internet more and read books more. Possibly go out more, especially since I now occasionally go to friends' house to gab and watch TV. But it's much more social than sitting on my butt at home and annoying you with the noise.