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Surf, Don't Watch

Entry 98, on 2004-12-07 at 16:01:12 (Rating 1, Comments)

A recent survey conducted in Europe reveals an increased number of people are spending more time on the Internet, and less watching television. The survey showed 27% of web users are surfing the 'net more.

As Internet and television technologies merge this will change, but currently people seem to want the freedom and interactivity offered by the 'net. Also, standards of programming on TV seem to be falling, and the more intelligent members of society (those that are likely to use technology more) probably find the Internet more intellectually stimulating.

There are an number of reasons I watch very little TV and spend many hours on the Internet (mainly surfing general web sites, participating in on-line chat, and working with email)...

First, you can be selective on the Internet. You can view sites about whatever you are currently interested in, instead of what is currently being broadcast on TV. Google currently indexes over 8 billion web pages, so there is information on any topic imaginable just a few seconds away.

Second, the advertising is less invasive. Advertising exists on the web, but it is much easier to ignore because you don't have to watch it until the real content re-appears. Also there are various ad-blocking strategies available.

Third, the Internet provides a much wider perspective than TV. This means there is a lot of weird stuff, and a lot of incorrect information on the web, so you have to be careful about how seriously you treat content found there. But TV also provides a lot of false information, and also offers a far narrower range of viewpoints.

Fourth, the Internet is interactive. I can discuss subjects and gather information from millions of people all over the world on the 'net. When I watch TV I just passively absorb information from the screen.

Recently, through a complex interaction of discussion forums, web browsing, and responding to emails, I have been learning more about subjects I would never have approached otherwise. Currently its various philosophical theories - just yesterday I read about the philosophies of Nietzsche and Pascal.

I believe the brain-dead mediocrity of most TV content has been responsible for a lot of the recent "dumbing down" of society. By using the Internet more, that trend can be reversed!

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