I don’t know why I wrote this piece, you’ll only read 28% of it. And Frontline’s cool new show “Digital Nation” debuts against “Lost” on Tuesday, so you probably won’t watch it.
Digital Nation Debuts Tuesday On PBS
Given the fact that according to this article you’re only going to read at most 28% of this page, I wonder if I should write less so you’ll read the whole thing? That sounds like an attempt at a humorous paradox, but it’s actually not; the fact is that according to this chart from the same article, users spend only 4.4 seconds more on a web page for each additional 100 words. So I better get to the point. This week PBS is airing a special edition of Frontline called Digital Nation, which explores how the Internet, texting, blogging, social networking, and other aspects of the “digital lifestyle” are impacting our lives. This is a topic that’s been very much on my attention-deficient mind for a few years. Although there are few solid scientific studies on the topic, I believe that as well as whatever benefits we derive from the technologies in which we’ve immersed our lives, these same tools have also caused perceptible changes in attention span, basic courtesy, and memory for many people. You almost certainly have noticed that more and more often, you and your friends can recall a film or book, but can’t recall the director, actor, author, or a major character. And who hasn’t found themselves sitting in a group of people that seem more intent on proving they have to “be somewhere else” digitally by texting, phoning, or checking a web account of some kind. Given the word count of what I’m writing, I lost you 140 words ago, but if you find this topic of interest, you might also find this TechCrunch article about what we watch and how we watch it interesting. It highlights things like how in the early 50′s, 30% of American households watched NBC during prime time, and how today that number has dropped to 5%, with other networks fairing about the same. Most of the remaining video content consumed is watched on the web, and in ways that may surprise you. This fact will almost certainly be relevant to the long-term viewership of Digital Nation; it debuts Tuesday directly opposite the season premiere of “Lost”.
Not surprisingly, the web site for the show is like a mini social network of user generated content: