Was it just me or was it strange to anyone else to learn of the recent deaths of Whitney Houston, Davy Jones, and Andrew Breitbart via Facebook?
Maybe you didn’t find out that way. Maybe you found out via Twitter which broke the story of Houston’s death 27 minutes before the press.
How do I know Twitter scooped the story? Read it in a link from someone I follow on Twitter.
The fateful Saturday of Houston’s death, I’d been unplugged all day. Decided to log on before turning in for the night.
Checking Facebook when it popped up. A link to an AP article with the status: “Whitney Houston, dead at 48. So sad.”
Before social media, this news would have been brought to me by a more traditional means. Television. Radio. Newspaper. Grapevine.
Take the Saturday night of Princess Diana’s fatal car accident in 1997. My husband and I were watching Early Edition. Network news broke in announcing the Princess had been in a car crash. We stayed up for a while, hanging on the plodding, painful drip from BBC, then went to bed.
It wasn’t until Erwin Lutzer announced Diana’s death from the pulpit the next morning in church that we knew she hadn’t survived.
Presently, we are without a television. I mean we have one. We just haven’t hooked it up to cable or satellite since we moved.
It’s not that we don’t like television. We just don’t miss it all that much. We certainly don’t miss the mammoth bill.
We instantly access news online. Connected friends send us play-by-play on Facebook and Twitter. When we need to know, we do.
That said, we’d like to watch real time college basketball in our own living room rather than a sports bar. This year’s Olympic games, presidential election, and severe weather alerts in our new Tornado Alley home will likely force our hand.
We’ll have to accept the dreaded bundle from cable.
My dream is to pick and pay for only what I want without the excess channels and shenanigans in a prepackaged lineup. Digital cable holds the technology to make my dream a reality if only providers were willing to work out the kinks and offer cable a la carte.
I’m not the only one dreaming this dream. Devin Coldewy of Tech Crunch writes, “These days people can barely bring themselves to pay for anything online, and that philosophy is leaking into the cable world.”
Coldewey forecasts a “death spiral” for cable companies if they refuse to meet consumer demand.
Joe Flint of the Los Angeles Times writes the holdup is with large cable operators like Time Warner and Comcast who also create programming. They want “their channels in the homes of all their subscribers, not just the ones who want them.”
Cable companies, if you’re listening, let go and let the market decide.
If you choose to drag your feet, suit yourselves. Some ambitious startup will eventually earn my business by offering me what I want to buy.
You see, with or without television, life goes on. We may surrender to the bundle for now. Or we may continue to find ways around you.
We can borrow movies from the library. Watch the games at Applebee’s. Catch sitcoms on Hulu. Stream coverage on the iPad. And get our headlines in the quicksilver morse code of social media.
They do not fear bad news;
they confidently trust the LORD to care for them. Psalm 112:7 NLT
The times, they are a-changin’. I just wanna Be OK, Ingrid Michaelson.