Wednesday, July 7, 2010

If you had to give up...

There's a column in the current issue of POPULAR COMMUNICATIONS magazine that does some mean speculating.  It is based on the old premise of if you were stranded on a desert island, what food -- music -- books -- whatever -- would you want to have with you.  Well, it turns out that my old friends at Arbitron and Edison Research have done a similar study, asking people what medium they would prefer giving up if forced to choose, television or the Internet.

Does it surprise anyone that the answers break out neatly along generational lines?  Those born from 1945 to about 1965 don't even hesitate.  The Internet is gone baby gone.  Those born after 1965, and who came of age with the advent of the web, would kick the TV set to the curb in a heartbeat.

It would be very interesting to give respondents more choices.  How many, if required to do so, would keep their cell phones to the exclusion of everything else?  Their satellite TV?  Their wi-fi?

How many of them would choose radio?  No, don't answer that!

As I watch how quickly new technology like smart phones is assimilated by younger people today, I wonder just how quickly the pace of technological and communications advances will accelerate.  Companies depend on creating buyers for ever-changing products.  Unlike dishwashing detergent or ketchup, we have a generation that not only wants something new all the time but that demands it.  They are quick to abandon anyone who does not innovate...or at least give the appearance of being out there, leading the pack.

Have these companies created a beast they will have trouble feeding?  Or is there room--technologically and economically--for ever-growing advancement?  That is, if there are enough visionaries to keep coming up with ideas, enough venture capitalists to stoke the furnace, and enough potential buyers to make it rewarding.

Don Keith N4KC

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