I have attached a copy of my media log for the week of May 14-21, 2007. Over the last week, I spent: 3 hours and 25 minutes online, 90 minutes watching a DVD, 15 hours and 33 minutes watching television, 4 hours and 45 minutes reading, 1 hour and 13 minutes reading magazines, 17 minutes reading the local paper, and 1 hour and 21 minutes using Blackberry. The log shows a marked preference for foreign media, with the possible exception of my Blackberry and the Toronto Star, which I use to keep up with friends and local events respectively. Even though the Internet is used to accomplish everything from communications to entertainment, it is still strange that television places first in my personal “Most Popular Medium” contest.
It is such an old form, first distributed widely in the 1950s. Yet, I spend more time watching it, than e-mailing, checking on friends at Facebook, or watching news clips on CNN. Perhaps it retains its popularity because of its versatility. In Television Culture, we learn that “social change does occur, and television is a part of this movement”(Fiske, 45). Because it keeps changing to keep up with the important issues of a particular time, television ensures its relevance and future existence.
Up until now, I have not realized how much time I spent watching television—not unusual since many people from all walks of life lament the amount of time people spend on television. I notice that I haven’t recorded any time listening to the radio, iPod, or a CD. Maybe music has been pushed into the unconscious or we have come to the point where radio is no longer a medium of note. With the advent of satellite radio, the mp3 player, podcasting, and Russian sites selling music at a fraction of the price, there would be little reason to maintain a radio, with the possible exception of warning the population if disaster strikes.
The newspaper is also becoming more overlooked as people switch to CNN Online and her sister sites. In order for newspapers to remain competitive, they need to take the focus off of world events and concentrate on covering the local area extensively. Such close area coverage will never be found on an international news site such as BBC or CNN.
While I spend a moderate amount of time on social sites like Facebook, it has not replaced telephone and in-person conversations. While my weekly telephone/text conversations seem to pale in comparison to my online time, face-to-face interaction is preferred.
The second most used medium in this study is the book—one of the earliest mediums for disseminating information in the world. However, book sales today are the direct result of successful multi-media campaigns. I’ve started reading The Secret by Rhonda Byrne—an Australian author with the grand ambition to change the world.
She proposes to do this by putting together a panel of successful people to educate people about the power of thought; that one can make his dreams come true provided he avoids thinking about what he does not want. Because more people favor television and Internet sources over books, the writers of The Secret produced a DVD, advertised on the Internet, magazines, and appeared on Oprah. Because of this successful multi-media campaign, it had reached #1 on Amazon’s bestseller’s list. The Harry Potter Novels and other Law of Attraction clones are taking this approach to boost sales.
It is important to keep up with the world at large and Canadian television imports many American shows such as the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Dr. Phil Show, The View, Girlfriends, and The Bachelor. With such wide exposure to American media, it is little wonder why Western Canadian and US culture are so similar.
Fiske, John. Television Culture. NY: Routledge,1987