Commentary

Driven To Media Distraction?

Have you had your media distraction today -- if you dare?

Fox News Channel has made a meal of its recent sparring with the White House.  Fox commentators and others have said the White House should be talking about more important things. According to reports, there is even a Fox News promo about this issue.

Maybe the White House is to blame; maybe Fox News as well. All of it is a waste of our time.

ABC says it is going to air a new reality show called "Obese," taking NBC's "The Biggest Loser" to another level by focusing each episode on a different person's year-long weight-loss journey. NBC is already doing a spin-off of "Loser" with one of the show's trainers, Jillian Michaels.

All this seems like more distractions. Aren't there other kinds of TV shows to consider -- like another new crime procedure or medical drama? (I'm short in this area. I'll check my DVR.)

We are driven to media distraction -- most times because content creators think we are bored.  Thus the rise of texting while driving.

This is a serious concern, so much so that Verizon Wireless has started an advertising campaign telling mobile users to stop the practice, to keep their thumbs on the steering wheel, or their XM Satellite Radio, or that latte.

New digital outdoor billboards seem to be adding to the distraction chain, no doubt interrupting those who are  texting in moving vehicles at 70 mph. The analog job of driving? Oh, that's way down the list now.

Multitasking seems to be the rage -- or the problem. Turns out multitasking people seem to perform all their chores poorly. 

If everyone regularly multitasks media and/or daily errands poorly, it surely doesn't make sense to distract them with irrelevant content.

Think before you create content. One's life and slowly scrambling, media-oriented mind may depend on it.

4 comments about "Driven To Media Distraction?".
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  1. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, October 26, 2009 at 11:31 a.m.

    Wayne,

    I think you've got your cause and effect confused. Our insatiable appetite for distraction notwithstanding, content doesn't, and can't controld anybody, because in an on-demand world, we "choose" our distractions. Case in point, online advertising CTRs of less than .1% and the growing preference for time-shifted TV viewing.

    The fact that the vast majority of what's out there is mindless drivel has nothing to do with our insatiable appetite for distraction and/or media's addictive forces, and to suggest that somehow we're being force fed anything is like blaming McDonald's for a weight problem.

    Furthermore, a quick look at current prime time TV ratings would suggest that not everybody is so easily seduced by mere distraction.

  2. Jonathan Mirow from BroadbandVideo, Inc., October 26, 2009 at 2:54 p.m.

    Fox is making a big deal out of this riff because there is now really "no such thing as bad publicity". What could be better in their current Administration-bashing state than a slap on the wrist from the White House? At a certain level, it validates their very existance. As far as TV shows about fat people / weight loss - reality TV is just a flimsy excuse to cut budgets: no scripts, no actors, no content and (as they say) no brain no pain. I'm at a loss how anyone with an IQ above 70 could find this tripe even marginally entertaining. Not quite sure what Fox and FatTV have to do with texting in cars, but it's early in the week.

  3. Gordon Potik, October 26, 2009 at 2:59 p.m.

    The President is the leader of the most powerful country in the world.
    He should raise the bar with Fox. If the president is willing to negioate with our emenies then he should be willing to negotiate with His own enemy.

    President Obama ... negotiate with Fox. Demonstrate your strength and power by talking with your Political enemy.

  4. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, October 26, 2009 at 3:19 p.m.

    Bottom line: A person can only do ONE thing at a time. A person may be able to switch from one thing to another very quickly, but still only ONE thing at a time. Add to that, concentration on ONE thing and finishing (at different levels at different times no doubt) it can actually save time lessening so called simultaneous efforts. Note too, the more one jumps from one subject to another, the more information gets lost during the transfer and the retention of information slips. Outcomes can become very different on the change of punctuation. If we can bring back the cultural need to pay attention, maybe some of the best programming will hang around longer and the imbecilic ones won't be the popular ones.

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