Wednesday, February 24, 2010

TV and the Masses

I spent some time of and I learned a lot about the history of TV and the evolution of TV from concept to consumer craze to standard household appliance. The website was very well organized and contained a lot of good information that was easy to access. It was also really interactive with 3D exhibits and picture slideshow presentations about things such as the 1939 World Fair in New York City and the Timeline of Televison History.

When I was checking out the presentation on the World Fair it talked a lot about RCA's television demonstration. One thing that struck me was how television was so big during that time that people would receive "I Was Televised" cards as souvenirs. This fact did not strike me because people were so obsessed with television when it was first created, but because people are still this obsessed with TV. Not only can television stars on shows like "American Idol" and "America's Got Talent" be vaulted into stardom by this medium, but people always try to find a way to get their 15 minutes of fame by being on TV. Everytime I watch a sporting event on TV and the camera pans over the crowd, people are waving and jumping up and down in front of it, trying to be noticed by the people watching TV. Whenever I watch the news and the reporter is in a public place like a beach or a park, people always walk behind the camera and give a little wave. These people undoubtedly then call up their friends and family members and tell them to watch the 6:00 news to "look for them on TV!"

Over 70 years ago when TV was first shown at the World Fair it was a novelty and certainly an exciting event to be on TV. Now with TV taken for granted as 90% of U.S. homes have a TV, people are still trying to get on TV in any way possible, and those "I Was Televised" cards could likely still be a desirable souvenir for some. I think this speaks to the power of TV and its effect as a form of mass media. With the internet and social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace as well as YouTube. Just about everyone with a computer and internet hookup can put their image on the internet for hundreds of thousands of people to potentially see. However this somehow still does not hold the same novelty as being shown on TV in the crowd of a baseball game for 3 1/2 seconds with 40 other people.

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