Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Sky Isn't Falling

.:The Sky Is Falling!:.

It’s easy to make bold predictions only to eat your words quickly enough. In the realm of Magic: The Gathering, we’ve all heard how absolutely “broken” Doomsday would be in the Vintage scene, yet except for a select few people who insist on the deck such as yours truly, it hasn’t really made much of a dent in the metagame, if at all.

When you come into something with a pre-conceived, or even pre-fabricated conclusion in your mind, it’s rather difficult to be dissuaded that it’s incorrect, even if what may or may not be valid opinions are clearly not as impactful in a country where the rules are radically different.

Last time, it was claimed that television is a “dying” medium. And if that has merit, then surely radio is long “dead”, right?

Wrong on both counts.

You see, the problem with the heralds of the information age is that they skew the details and are unmindful of context. I will not even attempt to contest how the media outlook in other countries are due to my lack of experience in that department, but the Philippines is a different animal altogether.

As a developing country, not everyone can afford a computer. Net café’s may be all the rage right now what with games like Ragnarok and the like, but to say that television, or even radio is on its way out is a bit bold and erroneous of an assumption.

I love the internet. Hades, I’m an advocate of blogging. I’ve been part of I-Blog 1, 2, and 3, and I have gotten a lot of people I know started on blogging. Despite that, I recognize that radio and television are going to be here to stay for just a while longer. There are too many interests, not to mention commonsensical circumstances, which would prevent the internet from completely dominating the Philippine landscape.

First and foremost, our connections. Even in the so-called DSL café’s, the speeds of a good chunk of these café’s are just a bit above dial-up. There are only so many people who can afford a computer, and only so many of these people actually bother to go online for anything beyond Ragnarok or webcams. That being said, the ratio of radios and televisions compared to online computers is just simply insurmountable for now.

Secondly, the content. Do you know how many blogs there are that talk about nothing but television goings-on? Do you know how many YouTube videos out there are of scenes we’ve seen on local television? Whether or not you agree with ABS-CBN’s demands of taking down their programming from YouTube, you cannot deny that a good chunk of local users still do reference television or radio media. They work with each other to a greater extent than against each other.

Thirdly, everyday life itself. When you get on a jeepney, do you see your driver surfing the net? Of course not. When you sit in a restaurant, is everyone staring at someone’s webcam? Hardly. Radio and television are still the media of choice in a poverty-stricken country. Love Radio makes oodles of money because of the sheer volume of Mini Stops, buses, and jeepneys listening to them, not to mention the household help even in high-class communities, when doing their work and just leaving the radio on in the background. The lack of interactivity of television is both its boon and bane. People can literally just melt in a couch while in front of a television, and in far greater numbers than those of us who melt in our ergonomic chairs while checking out our e-mail.

The internet is a force to be reckoned with, and it’s changing a lot of the rules over how media supposedly operates. Despite that, it is going to take a while before it can even hope to supplant, much less replace, radio and television in this country, if at all. As a person who has his ear to the ground when it comes to trends in media, there are far too many interests in play from the status quo for them to let the internet completely unhinge them from where they rest.

The sky isn’t falling. Seriously, it isn’t.

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