Facebook is the Future of Television

“But in the meantime the Netโ€™s going to look way too much like the last days of TV. Which it will be.” – Doc Searls

This morning, I heard a broadcast radio discussion on the future of television .

First off – the host made the assumption that cable television is some sort of necessity. Wow, if that’s the case – we’re living in the age of abundance.

Second off – I’m listening to this on the radio.

Isn’t that kinda like BP discussing the future of rail?

Either way.

In my household, chances are there’s a Facebook window open more often than a TV is on or a radio is on.

Facebook is compelling for all the reasons TV wants to be. Unfortunately – TV has a lot more work to do to make me care about characters. My Facebook (and I’m sure yours as well) is already filled with people I actually care about. People that impact my daily life directly – outside of Facebook.

The gulf between the stories, concerns, and issues my people and those broadcast TV, radio, or newspaper are publishing is wide, and growing.

It’s as easy to spend your cognitive surplus watching Facebook auto-update as it is watching the latest ultraviolent television production (broadcast or cable).

I haven’t even mentioned Facebook’s video support yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

Update: Then there’s the bit about considering maintaining Facebook activity a part-time job in the same way TV is. ๐Ÿ™‚

I Unpleasantly Review Mad Men

The older I get, the lower my tolerance for fictional stories about people disliking themselves and those around them.

I’m not a fan of AMC’s Mad Men, I concur with Kevin Fenton’s assessment:

“With the exception of a few marginal characters who get to show human complexity as a sort of consolation prize for not having any power, everyone on screen is thin-souled and remorseless.”- Kevin Fenton

Additionally, I find Don Draper a vacant grey flannel suit1 struggling to retain the insatiable impulses of a teenage boy. I see him closer to a Kid’s In The Hall parody than the alpha dog of Manhattan’s advertising scene.

The remaining major characters are equally flat and free of redeeming qualities – and all are struggling to self-destruct faster than the other. Like The Office, none of the characters are working to improve their lives by leaving the crab bucket.

Then again, Mad Men is a fictional program, written by writers and performed by actors – not a documentary or a How To for behaving like a responsible adult.
On the plus side, the set design is gorgeous.

1. According to this Wikipedia entry, the show’s writers have make this connection in season two of the show.

My Cable Access Prediction Coming True

“A provision of a law passed by the [California] Legislature in 2006, which took effect Thursday, allows cable television providers the option of dropping their long-standing obligation of providing free studios, equipment and training to the public.” – Reed Johnson , LA Times

Three years ago, I wrote: “Add Cable Public Access to the Endangered Species List

Personally, I’ve been a cable-free household for at least 5 years – and community access programming isn’t broadcast over the air (a much bigger issue – from my perspective). Thankfully, there are ways to receive my community-created media without purchasing a $100/mn Triple Play package….I can just load up MNstories or any number of reading lists in Cullect.

It feels ironic that as cable companies shed their obligations to support community access, the relevance and proliferation of community media is increasing. While the inverse is true of cable.

Asks: Should We Buy a HD TiVo?

Our Series2 TiVo is on its last legs. With each passing day, its over-the-air recordings (we’re a no cable household) are more and more unwatchable, while digital over-the-air recordings are getting more stable. But seriously, TV without TiVo is like email without a spam filter.

Back in January, I replaced our DVD player w/ a Mac Mini. Since then, none of TiVo’s non-TV features have been used (music, podcast, etc) – simply because TiVo’s UI was too much of a PITA compared to Front Row & OS X.

The Mini’s secondary job is to play Netflix disks and does so with far fewer curse words1 than the dedicated DVD player it replaced.

In a world where; there’s a computer already plugged into our TV, NBC is back on iTunes, Hulu.com gaining traction, and the Roku box, dropping $200+ on a HD TiVo for over-the-air programming seems questionable.

What would you do?

UPDATE 12 JUNE 2009
The Tivo HD is now on order. Lifetime service.

1. I won’t get into my complaints about iTunes and Front Row here – they deserve their own post. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Dr. Who’s to Blame

If you’ve been watching the new Dr. Who series (even via Netflix like myself) then you you can be relieved to know that Torchwood is now it’s own series1.

Laurel points to this review:

“If Torchwood has one real problem, it’s that it’s trying to be two series at once. One is a mostly smart, morally troubling series about a demon-haunted band of paranormal investigators; the other’s a fizzy, omnisexual soap opera where everyone is always just on the verge of making out with everyone else.” – Nathan Alderman, TeeVee.net

Feels like Torchwood belongs just below Dr. Who on the quality scale; mostly entertaining, occassionally excellent, extremely melodramatic and cheesy, something about scifi.

Sounds perfect to get from Netflix and have on in the background.

1. In retrospect, it feels like Russell T. Davies’ pretext for the new Dr. Who series was a set up for the spin off. Blah.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 1:36:44 PM

Anyone else catch the excellent example of ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ in this week’s The Amazing Race? 4 people counting the same set of stairs, deciding the number that 2 people settled on was the correct number.

Monday, March 12, 2007 2:19:18 PM

While I haven’t posted about it, the All-Star Amazing Race is well underway.

Last night was the first evening this season I felt it was good and engaging. Uchenna and Joyce helped another team reach the pitstop to eliminate Rob and Amber.

That’s how the Amazing Race is different. As I’ve mentioned many times before – gaining inches in TAR isn’t helpful, things turn around too quickly. Unlike almost any other reality program on, competitors cooperating and brining out the best in each other is what makes it fun to watch.