Did I mention I got a TIVO for Christmas? And yeah, it’s great and all that now I can watch the Daily Show and get to see some Frontline type stuff whenever I want it. But to be honest, the whole TIVO think has been a bummer on one level in that I find myself watching more television, which is something I really don’t want to do. I mean, this is the Age of Participation, right? But all TIVO and Sling and Netflix and, to some extent, YouTube (if you’re just watching it) and others seem to be doing is pulling us back to where we were before. The only difference is now we need a new term for couch potato…comp potato? Tech potato, perhaps?
So it’s not surprising, is it, that more and more of us are labeling ourselves procrastinators? 26 percent of Americans, according to a new study, up from 5 percent 20 years ago. And as the article points out, much of it is due to the “distraction” of technology.
“It’s easier to procrastinate now than ever before. We have so many more temptations,” he said. “It’s never been harder to be self-disciplined in all of history than it is now.”
And I admit, I struggle with this too. (You should see my honey-do list.) I’d like to think it’s because I’ve got more productive things to do (like blog and write) and that the reason I’m procrastinating on cleaning up the backyard is not really procrastination at all…it’s choices.
But, as usual, I wonder about my kids and our students. I mean, let’s face it, the “distractions” are becoming more ubiquitous. The other day I was up at the farm watching my daughter ride her pony, and also in the ring was an older girl who was atop her horse, walking slowly, all the time texting messages into her cell phone. I found that to be a pretty unsettling sight. I mean, the whole zen of participation takes on a totally different meaning in that respect.
I want my kids to create, to interact. I don’t want them watching television, of which 99% is absolutely, insanely stupid, demeaning, manipulative and inconsequential. I want them to make television of a different ilk, one that makes asks them and their audience to engage and think. I thought we were heading more in that direction, but I feels like we’re headed for a retreat.
(Screenshot via TechCrunch)
John Pederson says
There’s a certain lifecycle thing of TiVo. In the beginning, it’s a “more or less” thing. The novelty of new toy and your newfound power takes over. You end up watching a lot of stuff.
As you get used to having this control, you focus in on a few shows. Gradually, you realize it’s difficult to keep up with these few shows. You are still watching TV, but it’s a better experience, on your own terms.
What you don’t realize…but what is happening…is that you have less of an idea of what’s changing outside of those shows. You become numb to what the networks *want* you to see. No commericals, etc. to influence you.
For me, it boiled down to a) the Daily Show and b) the Colbert Report. After 3 years of TiVo (and now that I can get these via iTunes if need be), I found I wasn’t watching *anything* on TV. We then ditched the TiVo.
Peter Rock says
“I want my kids to create […]”
And the TIVO is designed not only to stop you from sharing, but from creating. Unfortunately, this gadget will not allow your children to take the “insanely stupid” recordings from the TIVO and remix them into something insanely clever.
I suppose that is the price we will pay when we support devices running non-free (via DRM) software on general purpose devices. TIVO is a perfect example of a free culture killing device.
David Jakes says
We take kids from our two schools to Northern Wisconsin for a 4-day ecology immersion program in October.
This year, I watched in amazement as students walked around the facility after dinner like zombies with their hand extended, clutching their cell phone. Even more amazing was the shriek of delight when they located coverage.
In years past, kids had spent the time walking the trails, looking at the stars, and forming new relationships. This year much of the discussion centered on what provider they had and where in the facility (its’s 1600 acres) they could find a signal so they could talk and text their friends at home.
Sort of sad…much like the girl on the horse.
Tom Hoffman says
I think your criticism of TiVo is a bit overblown. It can’t be a “free culture killing device” if what is coming into it is not free culture, as is overwhelmingly the case. Regardless, TiVo does exactly what it claims it will do, and if you want to do more, you have alternatives.
Tom Hoffman says
You can’t ask kids to create media without also consuming it. You can’t learn to create media without studying media. You’ve got to watch the movies, AND listen to all the commentaries.
Regarding TV in particular, the best series of the past few years (Deadwood, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Six Feet Under, etc.) are BY FAR the best television ever created. There is plenty that is worth watching on TV.
You can’t say “make TV, don’t watch it” any more than you can say “write blogs, don’t read them.” Or play music, don’t listen to it.
Peter Rock says
“I think your criticism of TiVo is a bit overblown. It canâ€™t be a â€œfree culture killing deviceâ€ if what is coming into it is not free culture”
That makes sense. How about – “proprietary culture promoting device”?
When we buy/use devices like the TiVo, we are promoting (whether consciously or not) the idea that it’s OK to restrict people from sharing and remixing entertaining culture without permission first. This is inherently an antisocial activity.
Seth Bowers says
I think you are forgetting about the participatory aspects surrounding so many shows these days. It’s not limited to Colbert & Stewert. Check out the forums, blogs, wikis, podcasts, et cetera for shows like Battlestar Galactica, Veronica Mars, or yes, even American Idol. There is so much user created content out there that I think you can put your Tivo worries to rest. Don’t underestimate the kids!