What happens when the primetime slot erodes, giving way to a new generation of media content consumers? I’m referring to the video iPods, the Sony PlayStation Portables, and other such video on-demand players.

iPod Video
iPod Video

What’s curious to me is how my generation pretty much always assumed that the symbol of the TV’s hypnotic power in the American living room would remain forever.

I was reminded of Ray Bradbury’s “The Pedestrian,” who continues to walk outside at night though the practice is archaic. All the other citizens remain inside behind the comforting warm glow of television sets.

That was pretty much the consensus for both the studios and the masses for the past 50 years. And yet it’s not panning out that way. With the introduction of personal video recorders and now the next wave of iPods, video content on demand is the Next Big Thing.

And really, is this such a big surprise? We Americans love our space, our privacy. Why not expect this new trend in content consumption?

Perhaps the bigger implication here is that the last bastion of “family time,” however weak already, is now on the way out as well. Family groups are no longer forced to congregate around the soft dulling light of their TV’s at certain times. They can take their shows with them.

February 12th’s Denver Post had an article about this:

“For 80 years of the 20th century, through films, then radio, then TV, we assembled the largest consensus audience in the history of the planet… For a few hours a day, everybody was consuming the same thing… Mass media also encouraged people to synthesize troubled periods like the civil-rights movement.”

I’m not sure yet what I think of this. I can definitely see how my time is taken up with the internet and blogging in lieu of owning a TV, or iPod for that matter. And this habit of mine is definitely an isolating one.

In fact, it’s so isolating that I’m giving it up.

You read me right. I’m going to bow out of blogging in observation of Lent. This will be my first real observation of the orthodox Christian holiday. And when Sarah suggested it, I knew exactly what I needed to let go of and focus on other things.

So with that, I’ll see you all in 40 days. I’ll be around to read comments via email, but no more posting, no more tweaking, no more photo gallery-ing. It’s time to get off the island for a while.

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  1. Enjoy your time off Rob, if you even read this! James and I have done similar evaluations in the past and have given up things for a time. It’s good sometimes to refocus. Enjoy!

  2. Oh Lord, you’re letting the woman get control of your life already!!! Tis the beginning of the end!!! 😉 Just kidding. Enjoy your Lent fast. I used to observe Lent when I was a Catholic child and remember one of our younger priests giving up Burger King fries for Lent…it nearly killed him. He was so addicted to them he had a small bag every day. Now when I think of Lent I always think of the movie Chocolat and the fast that was going on in the film during the opening of the chocolate shop.

  3. Go for it! I think it is good to set our minds to something that is difficult and then see what we are made of. I was with a girl this weekend that has given up icecream for lent. It was gruelling for her, but she is being strong.

    We will miss your while you are gone.

  4. But in the same way, time shifting shows allows for more meaningful and better planned get-togethers. As a good example, this last weekend I spent way too much time watching the entire second season of NBC’s The Office with some guys from the floor. No commercials…projected on to the wall wherever we wanted… who could ask for a better way to watch a funny show? I’ve certainly grown to dislike watching comedy by myself. Any show is so much better when laughing with friends.

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