Commercials are a great reason to never listen to the radio. That guy who talks super-fast through the fine print? The increasingly loud pitch guys? The absolutely asinine jokes? I’d wager that unless you are routinely sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic for hours on end, those are some pretty ineffective commercials.
There are too many options for the drive today – and if you’re bumper-to-bumper at a stand-still, you’re probably scrolling through one of a dozen feeds that pipe user content right to your screen.
We are in the Golden Age of Television because 1) there is no centralized production/ distribution of programming anymore. The next big hit could come from anywhere. Award shows are recognizing beyond the cable and OTA broadcasts. The content is getting better because it HAS to – there is just too much competition for your attention. If something is going to demand an hour’s worth of your time, it has to be better than the dozen other things you could consume in that time frame in more bite-sized segments.
And, chances are, you’ve got your phone somewhere handy. A 3-inch screen less than a foot away from your face is going to make a more significant impact than a 40-inch screen a few feet away from you. Every time.
We started watching Friends on Netflix as the mindless little thing after a chaotic day. This is one of those shows that will always have a fan-base because people grew up watching it. You could tell they had very little to compete with. The writing is fine. The acting is fine. The laugh track is always present. This kind of show probably wouldn’t make it in today’s era of programming.
There is always something new to watch. The key is figuring out if it is actually worth your time.
Looking down at a tablet because you’re bored with the show – maybe that’s a clue. Looking back up and having no idea what is going on – maybe that’s another. I constantly have to re-remind myself to only use one screen at a time, so nothing becomes added noise. Maybe that is why experiences at the Alamo Drafthouse are always memorable – because there is so little to distract me.
When I write or need to get deep into some analysis work – the single screen measure helps all the same. One monitor. One program. One browser window. I know I cannot realistically handle much more than that.
Chances are, every distraction I face in a day is designed to draw my attention to a different advertisement. Which one will be worth my time?