Tuesday, April 25, 2006

TV Junk
An interesting phenomenon on the teevee are shows that center around what is happening on the Internet. CNN -- the most trusted name in news, has for some time now had Internet reporters whose job it is to tell you what's happening in the blogosphere and on the Internet in general. And as much as I hate to give them any credit for basically surfing the net for me, I have to admit that occasionally something they find is useful and informative. The Internet is a big place and someone...anyone, is bound to find things that you won't. Usually those people are in your email addressbook and they forward the stuff to you.

One such show devoted to stuff you find on the web is VH1's Web Junk. It's full of the timewasting stuff you'd either have found yourself if you cared, or somebody forwarded to you days before the show aired. It's all very funny stuff. But I find it interesting that networks now pay someone to do what you risk being fired for at work, and then tell you about it. It's like spam from your TV. Part of it I'm sure is TV's desire to capitalize on the popularity of the web and to get back what it is loosing in audience. But mainly it is inevitable. If you want to talk at all about what is happening you have to talk about the web and what's happening on the web.

Far better at the job and much more useful is a whole channel devoted to technology, G4TV. Unfortunately G4 has recently morphed into this kind of hybrid channel that is half about computer games and half Star Trek reruns. But when they report on the web, they do a much better job than the more conventional broadcast and cable networks. The G4 network gets the net. I think the other networks still don't and some never will.

And that's Ok because there are a lot of people out there who still don't get it and to whom these kinds of shows are extremely informative. Call me technically old-fashioned, but I still think the web is the best place to find out what's happening on the web. There are plenty of sites that will give you the same kind of information these shows do, better, with links to the actual sites they are talking about so you can go there in a mouse click.

It's only for lack of a technology to keep people from skipping the commercials that all of free TV and radio aren't on the web already. Making watching the actual teevee itself, or listening to a radio unnecessary. And that's a useless strategy on the part of the television industry because the technology, using Tivo or any other type of recording, already allows you to skip all the commercials you want. Most people watch them anyway. Culturally and technologically speaking, TV is already the new AM radio. Back in the olden days when FM radio was introduced, many thought it would be the death of AM. Like they thought movies would be the death of plays, TV the death of movies and so on. Those kinds of fears surface with every new media innovation. But all those old media are still around. Inevitably changed by the new media, but still out there. Excuse me now, gotta go, Web Junk is on....

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