By Katie McSorley, Wednesday, January 6, 2010, at 12:30 pm.
Christopher Columbus was warned about sailing to the New World because conventional wisdom was that the world was flat. Wise and gutsy Chris proved the world was big and round and that even long, arduous journeys were worth taking.
Now, more than 517 years after Columbus set sail in the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria, has our world become flat again? Today there are millions of flat-screen TVs, flat-screen computers and laptops, and PDAs in homes, offices, on the street—you name the venue, flat is there.
I must admit that although I traveled more than 40,000 miles last year, my world is flattening. And I find myself in a dilemma. On one hand, my flat-screen TV, laptop and BlackBerry are instant links to news, entertainment, education. How else could I ever be so connected? On the other hand, letting myself get so sucked into this flat universe could flatline enriching life experiences for me.
Any given weekend, a 52-inch flat-screen TV lets me sit on the 50-yard line, 10-yard line and in the end zone all in one football game. When people ask, “You have Steelers tickets. Why don’t you go to the games?” I say “Why, when I can watch the ball being marched up and down the field and all the instant replays I want up close?”
Only two years ago, I was still enjoying my daily ritual of paging through four newspapers. Now, with my flat-screen, I practically sit on the set with my “friends” Joe Scarborough, Anderson Cooper, Larry King, Charles Osgood, David Gregory, Christiane Amanpour and others. On the big, flat screen, politics never gets tiring when my trusted friends bat around issues. I chime in with a tweet or a spoken opinion to my flat-screen colleagues. I am part of their circle. I must be; no one ever disagrees with my positions.
And with news becoming entertainment on “SNL” and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” I’m balancing the serious side of my flat life with great humor. (Humor makes the world go round, right?)
A decade ago, our fingers used to do the walking in the Yellow Pages. Now my fingers race across laptop keys for my newspapers. I used to love the ritual of padding to the street in my bathrobe and slippers for the papers. Yes, I’m missing the health benefit, but from the traditional sources I follow on Twitter to random surprises I download from TweetDeck and other daily alerts, I unlock a world of information as intently as an accomplished pianist tickles the ivories to open up the rich world of music.
Why would I travel to Vancouver to see the Olympics when 52 inches of HD let me sit in the bobsled, give me the heart-pounding thrill of beating the clock in the downhill, and offer a seat among the judges at the figure-skating competition? How else could I have become so taken with Tiger Woods? There he was on the flat screen with his cut physique and Sunday red shirt walking toward me. Who needs navigating the crowds at the Masters?
I’ve been thinking about taking a business course at a local university. But every day I’m invited to learn from business, PR and news pros through my laptop from the comfort of my office. Hey—it’s 30 degrees out and icy. Why bother with traffic, parking and exams when my flat screen provides all the education I need?
Head to a movie on a Saturday night? You bet. Blockbusters and no-name films alike come to my personal home theater. But, wait, the dilemmas surface: Aren’t I living out a more dynamic existence among the crowds? And do I want to play a role in the downfall of movie theaters?
With the tough economy affecting so many businesses, don’t I owe it to support my community by shopping at local boutiques and bookstores? On my flat screen, I can peruse the merchandise, make my selections and check out in an hour. Done. Fini. Makes holiday shopping a whole lot easier. But what about those hard-working, struggling merchants and my duty to be a good member of the community?
And when my church and office complex ask me to make Christmas special for kids in my city, do I say, “Sorry, I gave to the faceless national organization on my flat screen?”
The question keeps nagging: Have I let my world become too flat? Is technology taking too much time in my day and shrinking my enjoyable, memorable life experiences? Or is my world richer for living through the sending and receiving of so much information, entertainment and edutainment through my flat screens?
The old tune from the newly revived “Bye Bye Birdie” proclaims, “I’ve got a lot of living to do!” You bet. I want to be sure I’m living out my journey to the fullest. And I’m sure that means I’ll always keep today’s twist on the flat world in perspective.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 at 12:30 pm. It is filed under B2B, Features, Insights, PR, Social Media, Technology and tagged with change, Facebook, Media, Twitter, YouTube. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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