Take a Poll and Tell Me About You and Television?

I usually get to work before my colleague David Farley, and it’s become our habit that he stops at my office door and we talk about something related to writing, teaching, or family. This job we have teaching First Year Composition has carried me into digital writing, and David and I are often talking about digital texts in relation to the teaching of writing. I’m interested in the future of books, and I’m interested in how our internet habits will impact our reading, writing, and thinking. One day, David went over into his office and came back with Lawrence Lessig’s Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. Wikipedia (I’m getting more obsessed with it) tells me that Lessig “is a director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University and a professor of law at Harvard Law School.”

Lawrence Lessig’s Remix

Here’s something I wouldn’t mind hearing about from you in the comments section: Have your television watching habits changed? In this book, Lessig writes about Read Only (R.O.) and Read Write (R.W.) culture. Taking television as an example, I think it’s been R.O. By that, I mean you just sit there and watch it. You consume it. You don’t interact with it. Reading a Facebook post isn’t like that. Reading a Twitter feed isn’t like that. You get to Tweet back. You get to interact.

Television watching, from what I can see, is becoming more interactive. You can vote for your favorite American Idol. You can Tweet along with everyone else as they watch the NCAA basketball tournament. You can read what people say about President Obama and Presidential hopeful Romney on Facebook.  As I understand from Lessig, back when people went down to the town square to see entertainment, they were in a culture that tended toward R.W. They were entertained and had a chance to interact, to sing along, to talk with others, and to go home and try out the songs on their front porch.

With the rise of television and newspapers, R.W. went on the decline. People just consumed content with little or no chance to interact. Now with Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and other social platforms such as blogs, R.W. is on the rise. People read Harry Potter and go see the movies and then they write on fan fiction sites. All of these features of consuming and interacting seem significant to the craft of teaching and what it will mean to get an education.

Let’s consider for a second the teacher’s lecture.  Possibly BORING!!!! and most times heavy on the R.O. side of consumption.   I’d like to be as R.W. as I can when it comes to my teaching pedagogy. Perhaps I’m using the term wrong but for now, I know what I mean.  :)

More on Lessig’s book and some Golden Lines in the coming posts. There’s a poll below for you and if you’d like to elaborate on your TV watching habits, I hope you’ll add them to the comments section.

4 thoughts on “Take a Poll and Tell Me About You and Television?

  1. I like TV for why I’ve always liked it: to escape to some other world for a bit (like when I read a book). I have yet to Tweet during a show (although Get Glue is a new app I’ve downloaded, and I paid a bit of attention to Twitter and the Get Glue hashtag during the latest Grey’s Anatomy season finale). Cool post, Torg. :)

  2. I don’t watch a lot of television, but for the TV shows I DO watch I have to DVR them. (I have small children and I despise commercials.) I find that I fall into two categories: 1) If I’ve watched the show the same day it aired, I am interested in what people say about it on Facebook or via blogs or whatever but 2) If I haven’t yet watched the episode, I am irritated if I come across material about the show on Facebook or whatever. As someone who works entirely online, I find it nearly impossible to avoid spoilers and this sometimes dictates my behavior. For instance, I will avoid social networking sites/entertainment sites until I have watched the episodes I’ve recorded. Like Lydia, I have yet to tweet or facebook post about what I watch, especially while watching.

  3. We made a decision a long time ago as a family to have only one television in the house. Now my kids tend to dominate it, so I DVR the two or three shows I like and watch them at off times. I also sometimes watch the news on my computer. My kids also use the computer and ipods to watch some things. The TV has become just one of many electronic devices we use for entertainment. I also continue to read books on paper.

  4. I’m not a big tv watcher, but I have tapped into the more interactive forms of viewing, such as Netflix (which I originally signed up for so that I could watch Fraggle Rock haha) and voting for contestants on shows like American Idol.

    You might want to check out Henry Jenkins’ book Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. It’s a quick and very interesting read about our consumer culture as it relates to new media.

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