Meanwhile, in an alternate universe, the following message appeared on a website:
This site is only available for viewing next Thursday, from 2pm to 3pm. If you would like to view it after that, we can mail you a printed copy in 7 to 12 business days.
Actually, this isn’t too far from reality. Do you know there are people who still:
- drive to a bank to pay bills, when they could do it online?
- mail printed photographs to their family, rather than email them?
- manage documents as part of a group, with each group member keeping their own duplicate copy?
- watch movies and TV programmes according a broadcaster’s schedule?
The last point is particularly interesting. Why is it unacceptable to have a website (or any online content) that could only be viewed certain days and times, but it’s acceptable to have other content that’s only available certain days and times. Either scenario is ridiculous.
Through downloading, online reruns available on various broadcasting websites, and streaming services such as Netflix, gone are the days where you have to wait for a day. In addition, some of these services allow you to enter meta-data about your preferences, and to rate what you’ve seen, enabling the service to suggest content that might interest you. On certain sites, you can also add comments, which is pretty tricky to do using a television.
We’re therefore seeing entertainment content catch up with the principles of informational content, namely:
- available for viewing any time, anywhere
- enabling two-way communication
I can imagine a not-too-distant future where our children and their children will look back and laugh as they cry: “You mean you guys actually drove to a store to watch a movie? And there was actually stuff that wasn’t online?!”
The horror, the horror…