Fascinating article I read this week in the Yorkshire Evening Post – I’m not a subscriber, I found it randomly online of course. I made that discovery while sitting on my very long sofa – toe to toe with my partner – tapping away on my Mac. My partner was doing likewise. And of course the TV was on in the corner. Because, as the YEP pointed out, we don’t sit there gawping at our TV anymore – it’s left to burble away while we conduct social media chatter and surf the web at the same time.
Sometimes we seek to validate something on the box online – researching facts about actors, dramas, documentaries to complement our viewing or we write our regular blog – like this one – while watching something completely unrelated, like an old episode of Family Guy. And as the YEP article observes, this is transforming the Great British living room into something quite different. It’s becoming, in the newspaper’s words, a social media hub. That may be a relaxed, recreational hub or a continuation of our office working day – as if we paused to go offline on the way home then resumed again in the evening.
Smartphone and tablet sales are booming but here’s an interesting thing – after years of families installing TVs in every room of the house, the process is swinging into reverse. Indeed, many families may now have only one telly at home. That’s a trend back to the levels of TV ownership last seen in the 1970s. And after all, why would you want a giant plasma screen in every room? TV viewing can be reserved for something special like a big action movie or high production value HD series like Revolution or Da Vinci’s Demons. Otherwise, you can watch on the PC or not watch at all.
By the way – you’ll need to note some new jargon in relation to the above. “Media meshing” is where you communicate about the programme you are watching. I do this with BBC Newsnight and BBC Question Time – crossing swords with like minded politics bores on Twitter. “Media stacking” is where you carry out those activities totally unrelated to what’s on the box – so looking at your Facebook and shopping on Amazon while the Antiques Roadshow is on.
- The living room makes a comeback, and it has technology to thank (theguardian.com)
- Digital Age ‘Unites Families’ In Living Room (news.sky.com)
- Ofcom: Living room is now digital media hub (itv.com)
- Living rooms become digital hubs as millions more buy a tablet (telegraph.co.uk)