There has been such a rush to video of late, that I’m feeling left behind. I am not a video person. I’m not a tube-person either. I watch very little television, do not have “favorite” or “must see” television programming, and rarely watch video online. I watch local news daily, and Cardinal’s baseball a few times a week when it’s in season, and I like to watch the Packers or the Colts play if I happen to be home, but generally, if I can’t “listen” to a broadcast while doing other things, then I’m probably not going to bother with it.
It’s not that I wasn’t exposed to television at an early age. We had a television in the house shortly after I was born (early 60′s) and my dad and I used to watch Mannix and the Carol Burnett Show with great regularity. And in college I was somewhat addicted to soap operas (All my Children and General Hospital). But by the time I moved into my own place, the only thing I “watched” on television was a new little thing called MTV. And I didn’t “watch” so much as I “listened.” I listened while I was cooking, cleaning, repotting plants, folding laundry, etc.
As I’ve aged, I have come to appreciate broadcast on demand and listen to a fair amount of podcasts, as well has having a collection of about 6000 songs on my iPod. It is a heck of a lot easier to listen to it in a portable way than it has been to try to be home to listen to A Prairie Home Companion or the local symphony on terrestrial radio on a Saturday night. And I think it would be a more perfect world if I could get the complete Prairie Home Companion broadcasts in podcast form that I could download and take with me, but there is a mess with rights to distribute that apparently can’t be worked out to make this happen.
Which is true of some other terrestrial radio programs I like to listen to, as well, and I keep hoping that will change.
But the fact is, I prefer my media in an audio form. I am often doing other things while listening: driving the car to work, shopping, needlework, mowing the lawn, doing laundry, waiting for a kid at guitar lessons on a Monday night, waiting at the doctor’s office for an appointment or a test, while doing brainless work on my computer at my J.O.B., or a million other things. Video is not convenient for any of these situations, so I defer to audio. Audio is unobtrusive, it leaves part of the brain free to do other things (unlike video, which takes eyes and ears), and I can listen with one ear while keeping the other open to alerts that I need to pay attention to.
And I understand the allure of video; my teenagers are addicted to online video of all kinds, including television shows, YouTube videos, music videos, instructional videos, you name it. And my husband is also pretty well locked into video, whether on his computer, or on television. What I lack in hours spent in front of a moving screen he more than makes up for; it’s his entertainment of choice. So yes, I live with it and I understand it.
But I also think there has to be a recognition by the “new media” out there that some of us prefer audio over anything else. We have our reasons and preferences, and to see everything move to video is a bit disheartening. While I can “listen” to video and probably get the gist of things, I also know I’m missing stuff as well. There is a lot of “this thing in my hand” or “what you saw there” in video. If I’m listening, I won’t “see” anything, nor is that “seeing” necessarily an important element to what is going on.
And I am sure that I’m not alone in my love of audio vs. video. There are not enough hours in the day for me to watch every video and television show I might be interested in. But there are enough hours in a week to listen to everything I want to listen to, for the most part. There’s that whole commute thing, and that half an hour while I’m cooking dinner, or the hour I spend in grocery stores in a week, or that 45 minutes sitting at the music store waiting for the guitar lesson to finish so I can take a non-driving teenager home. Plenty of time for that, where my eyes can be on the work at hand, rather than on some screen or other.