57 channels and there is nothing on

Bruce Springsteen once wrote a song called : 57 channels and there is nothing on.
One of the most interesting verses is:

Well now home entertainment was my baby’s wish
So I hopped into town for a satellite dish
I tied it to the top of my Japanese car
I came home and I pointed it out into the stars
A message came back from the great beyond
There’s fifty-seven channels and nothin’ on

I felt a similar emotion during the last 2 weeks when I was over in the USA.
Instead, where I was staying I had probably over 150 channels to choose from. Honestly, there was literally not much on.

When I opened the newspaper each morning I searched high and low for World news – Unfortunately, time and time again I was affronted with just two pages – and most of that was occupied by the awful situation in the Middle East. I felt that my channels of communication had been restricted – my only avenue of seeking more information was to resort to the Internet and its associated channels.

If we consider that the definition of ‘channel’ as being the medium used to convey information from a sender (or transmitter) to a receiver. Taking this definition one step further we have: Simplex – one definition suggests that this type of communication is one where all signals can flow in only one direction. Half Duplex allows communications in both directions, but only one direction at a time (not simultaneously). Duplex allows communication in both directions and unlike half-duplex allows this to happen simultaneously.

In the context of how humans communicate or are forced to conform with, the advent of the Internet has brought about an irony – selective communication – for example recently both Google and Microsoft have been accused of restricting selective content to Chinese users of their services. Blogging (individual web-logs or online journals) is now a new industry – consider that in 2002 only 200,000 Blogs existed, now over 30 Million Blogs are available (how many remain active is another topic/question). If the Internet has the power to give anyone (let us put the digital divide situation on the side for a second) to get online and express their opinion then a positive consensus on issues should emerge.

I believe that my reliance on the Internet is probably under threat. Already media corporations are commissioning ‘their’ own Blogger’s and associated resources – maybe to ensure opinions are consistent and advertisers are ‘eyeing’ up the potential for product positioning. The need for interactivity (2 way communication) is what the Internet has morphed into, yet this communication will be restricted as world paranoia continues.

The Internet is a place that has the potential to bring the world together, instead inappropriate content is rampant, vandals seek to damage websites, children are threatened and identities can be compromised.

The so called ‘Myspace’ generation maybe at ease with the social networking technology that is now available. However, an opportunity to debate on world issues appears a far of priority. I noticed the BBC’s recent subtle approach on engaging with the public on issues of the day – through emails etc. However, programming for ethnic / communities is still established at the midnight hour!?

In the advent of new satellite channels coming to the fore – I hope it will not be in the vain – as I saw recently on one channel that simply shows someone’s home wedding video in the hope that it is providing quality content and entertainment – maybe the joke is on us!!

Categories: 2006

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: