Monday, September 8, 2008

We have more time, and what do we do with it?

Here's the idea from Clay Skirky:

"Starting after the second world war, a whole host of factors, like rising GDP, rising educational attainment, and rising life-span, forced the industrialized world to grapple with something new: free time. Lots and lots of free time. The amount of unstructured time among the educated population ballooned, accounting for billions of hours a year. And what did we do with that time? Mostly, we watched TV.

Society never really knows what do do with any surplus at first. (That's what makes it a surplus.) In this case, we had to find something to do with the sudden spike in surplus hours. The sitcom was our gin, a ready-made response to the crisis of free time. TV has become a half-time job for most citizens of the industrialized world, at an average of 20 hours a week, every week, for decades.

Now, though, for the first time in its history, young people are watching less TV than their elders, and the cause of the decline is competition for their free time from media that allow for active and social participation, not just passive and individual consumption."

Watch it.

But the bigger kick is the comments on Edge. People, real intellectuals, are out there thinking, observing, figuring out how technology and the world are working. And the place they're discussing them is on the Web. It's a powerful place, and it's a place those two politicians running for U.S. president (or the four of them, as a collective) don't seem to understand in the slightest.

Well, what the fuck do you expect from a right-wing hockey mom?

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