Living through screens

There was a time in which people did studies on how people used TV, those where the times where “prime time” meant that someone was actually in front of the big screen.  People thought that the “idiot box” was going to diminish the intellectual capacity of individuals. These were the times where the lineal model of communication – source, medium, and receiver – was somehow undoubted. Such times are no more; nevertheless we’ve found a new interest in researching TV.

Have you seen how are we using TV right now? We are never just in front of the box – we are multitasking now. From one screen we move to our smartphone, and then we turn on our tablet to check our email. We are no longer paying our undivided attention to one of them.  There has been a debate of how to call this phenomenon:

The first screen is Cinema – first screening by the Lumiere brothers in 1895.

The second screen was TV – for argument’s sake let’s say Baird achieved this in 1925.

The third screen are PC’s – I’m not even going to say who invented what, let’s use the ENIAC 1 as a reference point, in 1946.

The fourth screen are Digital Signs – Let’s say these are displays controlled by computers.

Digital Signage

This small blast to the past has a point of debate, as mentioned previously. We are travelling with several screens in our pockets, we face a screen even more than we face people, even when we are in front of the TV we are using multiple screens.

Where is the division between reality and virtual reality?

When a monitor becomes a better way of communicating ideas (hash tags), news (Twitter), feelings (Facebook), and wants and desires (Pinterest)?

How is it that a medium that was so immersive such as TV is demanding more actions from us now? Disney now has attractions that show The Little Mermaid in one screen while you interact with the movie over a tablet.

Today I was at a tree lighting event in San Francisco. Carly Rae Jepsen was performing “Call me Maybe”. When I turned around I saw hundreds of phones pointing at the scenario. All of them were “enjoying” the show through a screen, through their devices.

My marketing mind just though:  How can I place an ad there?

The anthropologist inside of me went deeper:

Can you imagine the social implications generated from a mere interaction with screens and no longer with humans?

Screens at Carly Rae Jepsen in San Francisco

A lot of screens!

No answer to that yet….at least not from me….maybe in another time, when the ghost takes over the shell we’ll figure it out. Leave your opinions on the poll below.


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