musings on mass media

Yes, it’s morning. Yes, I’m awake. This early. Shocking, but I’ve been getting up earlier these days, so I can bike to work without being late.

Perhaps this is because my roomate finally got the wi-fi up to full, efficient 54MPS, and I’m able to transfer TiVO recordings directly to my computer, from whence they shall be burned to DVDs. I bought a $50 chunk of software for that exact purpose. I explained this to my mother yesterday on the phone. Who pointed out that I could well be using this technology to record the new episodes of The Sopranos and send them up to her in Canada, because otherwise, she’d have to wait almost a year until they hit the Canadian Bravo! channel.

Actually, it kind of shocks me, still, how much media input there is to be had right now, at this point in history. (I’m about to self-indulge and use my own consumption as the example basis.)

The TiVO captures television, and with the need for linear watching eliminated, I have instant access to whatever half-dozen shows it’s recorded that day (most of which is actually documentaries and news shows). I have over six thousand tracks – about 500 albums – stored on Rhapsody, most of it indie rock or gothic/industrial/synthpop. I have physical subscriptions to Vanity Fair, Harpers, Mother Jones and I just sent in the card for Utne. I syndicate about twelve national political blogs, plus eight more California political blogs since I started with the Marcy Winograd campaign. I get email alerts from the L.A. Times and read a dozen-odd L.A. blogs (including the one I write for).

Most of what I get is electronic. There has never been a time in history where so much media could be had, where so much input was available – and more importantly, where so much of it was customizable to my specific interests. I get newsletters on this all the time in my industry – “The Rise Of Niche Targeting!” is a common headline. And even though I’m technologically ahead of most people (I’m a geek! It’s my job!), none of this is difficult technology to use. The blogs and RSS feeds are the only really geek-elitist info sources I get, and with Yahoo and Google pushing their RSS feeds to the people who don’t currently understand it, even that will be mainstream soon enough.

It’s kind of interesting, to live at a point where so much is so available. What this means, I’m not sure. It seems to be a period in history where media availability explodes – like fifteen years ago with the Internet, sixty years ago with radio and TV, two hundred years ago with newspapers, five hundred years ago with the printing press. It’s still technically the same Internet, but it’s being used in conjunction with non-internet sources, or offline sources are being tied in with the Internet (like recording TiVO shows via Yahoo! TV listings). It’s a little much. I’m wondering if, at any point, everyone will consume media like I do, through so many different ways and means. Or, if like with the original Internet, most people will only choose to consume media in isotypes of the way they do right now.

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