When Will Digital Media Grow Up?

The phone rings. I see in the display it’s not anyone in my address book, and I don’t otherwise recognize the number, so I don’t answer. They leave a message. I check it later and call them back. They’re away. I leave a message. They don’t call back. I guess it's because they’ve gotten done what they needed to talk to me about.

Later, I call someone because I need a more immediate answer to an email I sent. They don’t answer because they don’t recognize my phone number. And here we go again.

It’s near the end of the year and I take stock now of all the weird ways digital media shapes our life and wastes our time.

I will grant you it’s made some things great. It saves lives.  It makes hard things simpler. It brings joy and beauty. It brings you a car in midtown Manhattan.

The predictions about 2016 are fun to read, but the trouble with the Wild, Wild West where Internet content and commerce roams is that so far, no one has set a very good example. There are technicians, yes, but there is not a New York Times or BBC of the Internet, including their own Websites.



There isn’t a David Ogilvy of Internet advertising, or for the good that it did, an FCC-like entity that pretends very well to set standards that anyone feels compelled to follow. I’d say the online business has maybe until 2020 before it is considered a grown up. I’d say it has a lot of growing up to do. 

 "Five Things You Should Stop Saying 'Ew' To"  is a post Mashable should not in any way be proud of. 

Because of plentiful video, the whole nation has seen vivid proof that street justice is often meted out unfairly and brutally. There is more racism than we want to believe. That’s been awful to see, but some good should come out of it.  

I don’t know about some of the other stuff. We’ve seen refugees and disaster victims dying, or already dead is mass graves, store clerks beaten, girls and women exploited, old people treated and abused like dogs and terrorists beheading their neighbors,

Trolling the Internet for video news, for awhile I collected worldwide examples of man’s inhumanity and our insane enjoyment documenting it to spread around the world. I thank myself for not looking at virtually any of it.

It’s so easy to make  metaphor out of our digital advances. One I keep coming back to is GPS, which makes it easy for me to get where I want to go, but it also presents the problem of keeping me ignorant about where I really am.  Or this: When I read 340 Twitter messages at a time, each one of them on a different subject, have I absorbed a lot or really, nothing at all? All those seconds of YouTube video somehow don’t always seem to add up to real minutes of even good-but-dumb entertainment, either. 

When ads come at me from the left, right or from the top or the screen, or are some voice I hear is connected to a video out of view, am I cruising on a great technological stream, or just being drowned in imagery and noise and . . .junk?  When the industry exclaims the future belongs to digital video streamers, is the future something like the present, only more of it?  Because that’s not that much to exclaim about.

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