Is social media driving us apart?

According to BBC’s Technology Correspondent, Rory Cellan Jones, officials have been predicting the demise of the TV ‘channel’ for years, and now it’s almost arrived.

Rory points out that there has always been a mental hierarchy of where things stand on television, the summit usually being the 10 o’clock news.

But with the likes of Google TV on the horizon, that mental hierarchy is on the verge of collapse. Sites such as BBC iPlayer, 4od and Megavideo already allow people to watch what they want, when they want, and have made the fight over the remote control seem a somewhat outdated concept.

In which case Google TV may hammer the final nail into the coffin of traditional television viewing. Google TV, according to Google itself, is “an experience that combines TV, the entire web, and apps – as well as a way to search across them all”.

Sound a bit much? Perhaps, but it could be argued that this TV/web experience is already taking place anyway. It’s not uncommon nowadays for a person to watch TV while they surf the web and chat with friends via their laptop. In which case, why not combine the two activities?

However, while social media enabled TV seems sociable, it also sounds like a fairly solitary experience. The departure of the fixed TV schedule will inevitably create a fragmented audience, meaning the typical conversation you have with friends, family and work colleagues about “last night’s episode of…” might soon cease to exist.

The internet provides us with an ample amount of choice in terms of what programmes we watch and how we choose to interact with one another, but perhaps our real-life social experiences are becoming more limited as a result.

On the other hand, the TV/web combo also means you’ll be able to interact with a world of people with similar interests to you, and in that sense it will be a very communal experience indeed – the only difference being that the community will be at your fingertips, rather than at your doorstep.

If you’re interested, have a look at the Google TV tour.

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