57 Channels and Nothing On


WATCH TV (Photo credit: Martin Ritter)

Today’s talk is about 21st century distraction, and repeats on tv – two for the price of one.  Ok, settle down, stop checking your notifications.  Oh, for goodness sake.  Thank you, now…

Ooh, an email…

It’s too easy today, you get home, put on some food, put on the tv for some background noise while you eat and bang, before you know it you’re laid on the sofa watching a repeat of Top Gear, Man vs Food, Mock The Week, Letterman (your country/mileage may vary).  You start to feel a bit tired because of the meal you’ve eaten and think I don’t have time to do what I’d intended to do.  The thing is though that when the UK first got digital terrestrial tv it seemed to offer so much, so many new channels, so much choice for everyone.  What we’ve got is occasional new content but mostly repeats and we watch them anyway.  How right Bruce was.

I don’t read or listen to music as much as I used to and for me the reason is that with only five channels there were large chunks of time when there was nothing remotely interesting to me on, so I had to go and find something else to do.  Now there’s always something I can watch even if it’s a repeat, and that’s the lazy, easy option.  Often the tired feeling vanishes when I start something more interesting.

But it doesn’t end with dragging yourself away from Mountain Pies and Aston Martins, I sit down here to write a post and there’s other enticing options – my mouse drifts towards Hot UK Deals, the National Lottery, shopping sites, other blogs, for you it may be Twitter or Facebook, iPlayer or YouTube, comics or news sites.

So think “am I really tired or is it boredom, how much more satisfied will I feel if I get on with a bit of that project, how will I feel if I just sit here for the next three hours?”  Sometimes the answer will be “I’ll feel fine with that, thankyou for asking” in which case grab a cuppa and stay put, else just get up and do something, you’ll feel better for it.

Tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet

I’m not on Twitter so I don’t really know what people say apart from the odd comment reported here and there but I do know, thanks to Gizmodo UK and Cnet, that worldwide people are sending over 400 million tweets per day, 4,500 per hour.  Though apparently you can now tailor trends based on who you follow too.

Still, that’s a lot of twittering.

Pay Attention People

Heads up

Heads up (Photo credit: Brett Jordan)

A couple of years ago I was on my way home from work, it was December, raining, cold and I’d just walked two miles.  I was just approaching my street when a loud group of youths came walking the other way down the narrow path which was separated from the road by a railing.  Most of the group passed by me except one lad who was busy texting on his phone, not looking where he was going.  I walked as close to the wall as I could and he passed by.

The next thing I know this lad is shouting at me about how I should look where I’m going and that I nearly knocked his phone out of his hand, I carried on walking while he continued to rant, apparently about how important and the centre of the universe he was and that I should have moved for his lordship.

Having had a really lousy day I turned, walked back and firmly told him that it was him not looking where he was going and was only looking at his phone – “yeah, cos I’m busy” he replied – working on a multi-million pound equity deal no doubt – while his friend held on to him and his girlfriend crowed “it’s not wurf it mate” to me.

I agreed with that at least so turned and carried on walking.

It turns out that this condition afflicts many people these days – the inability to move from one place to another without tweeting or updating facebook – so much so that in New York signs have been put up to try to prevent collisions in future.

The signs are actually the work of street artist Jay Shells who campaigns for better social etiquette and whose previous works have included signs about not flicking cigarette butts on the ground.  Of course it’s not just pedestrian collisions that happen because of people not watching where they’re going, people have actually been hit by vehicles too so the message is serious.

So mind where you’re walking out there and if you’re reading this on the move for goodness sake LOOK UP!