One of the issues with the changing landscape of new technologies, is the decentralized and fragmented nature of media consumption. What does this mean for shared experience, shared dialogue and shared culture. Are we all becoming an “army of one”. In his article Kurt Hunt asks the same questions:
“But with choice comes fragmentation. The modern family that can pull together long enough for a decent meal is exceptional. Bonus points if they have anything to discuss at the dinner table besides crazy Uncle Roger’s latest trip to prison.
So what does this mean for us and our interactions with each other? Are we doomed to sequestered lives of private distractions? Is entertainment no longer a common ground in our society? “
What happens if we no longer have common language or cultural references or get caught in self-referential loops? Hunt later writes:
There is more than just quantity at work, however. Media work differently now, giving us increasingly targeted programming that only appeals to smaller demographic groups. Communication between the “Matlock” and “Yu-Gi-Oh” crowds requires a translator and godlike patience; each group just doesn’t get what the other is into. We just don’t have as many experiences in common anymore, and the trend is only likely to continue.
Yet Hurt ends on a positive note which hints at the value of diversity and inclusion that so many new communication venues offer.
Rather than mourn a media environment that can never possibly return, we should celebrate the diversity of entertainment available to us now. Always be willing to share your interests and engage in others’ interests; use the variety as an excuse to connect with the people around you. The common ground is still there; it just doesn’t look quite the same.