When I was growing up, television was a group activity. Sunday evenings, I’d get an early bath and put on my pajamas so that I could watch “The Ed Sullivan Show” with my family. Shows like “American Idol” and “Dancing with the Stars” seem to be keeping that group activity alive, but the it seems that more and more people are turning to television as an individual activity.
As evidence, I offer some new data from In-Stat. Their research indicates that half of all tablet owners are watching feature films and full-length television episodes on these portable devices. Furthermore, the company predicts that the number of “frequent mobile video users” will triple in the next five years.
On the other hand, it could be that it is just that the nature of the “group” part of the activity is changing. In-Stat reports that almost half of all smartphone and table users between the ages of 18 and 24 “frequently” use social media to share about what they’re watching. Perhaps we’re simply witnessing the transition to a global livingroom.
I’m old enough to think that it’s a little strange that Facebook status messages can replace live human interaction, but I’ve also seen enough social changes brought on by technology to realize that these developments are not necessarily good or bad, but can just be different from what we’re used to. I expect that we’re just seeing the beginning of some major social transitions, and I am curious to see how they turn out.