Flight Papers

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The new fireside.


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In fact, while conventional wisdom says that users would love to watch downloaded video content on the television set, Macrovision found that only 10 percent of those surveyed said that they have any desire to do so.’ —ars

Funny story.

A couple of days ago, some friends and I were lying in bed talking about Obama’s speech on race relations, and it came up that only one of us had actually seen it. So, seeing as we had two laptops in the bed with us, we opened up YouTube and watched it.

Now, YouTube isn’t particularly good for this. For one thing, its design is pretty distracting, and it doesn’t have a “hit the lights” button. For another, videos are cut to ten minutes, so the speech was broken into four parts. And it doesn’t have a playlist feature, so we couldn’t just queue them all up.

None of this mattered.

Silently clicking through the clips felt like this lovely confluence of then and yet-to-come. We were lying under blankets, gathered around a glowing laptop listening to a fireside chat on YouTube.

The tenor of the speech built the mood, but the way we obtained, watched, and interacted with it was much more established than that. This is how we channel surf; this is how we interact with media. When we’re watching music videos (say) we’ll be passing the keyboard or laptop around, pulling up different artists and concerts or whatever. The social protocol for this sort of thing is well-established: we are all watching, and we are all in control, and there is zero room for a TV set in that equation.

Point of interest: there were two laptops within three feet of us that night. There are no TVs in her house.

And sure, sometimes we’ll download movies or shows that we plan on watching, turn the lights down, and project them on the wall. But those instances are much rarer, and the setup time required means that there isn’t any significant issue with just plugging a laptop or computer into the TV and futzing with it for a few minutes. And as often as not, we’ll just turn a convenient monitor around, or bring a laptop onto the bed, and watch stuff that way.

One Response to “The new fireside.”

  1. Pinky Says:

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    Hey,

    I just ran across your website from Feministe, but totally randomly, if i have multiple part youtube videos, i run them through Omnisio because you can sync up multiple parts (which is something youtube should really do, i think). anyway, this kinda sounds like a spam comment, but it’s really not. lol.

    ps. your comments on the feministe thread about Jessica hoffman’s article were super smart, which is why i clicked over here in the first place

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