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The perfect media tool?

Communications is changing so fast it is almost impossible to predict where it will go next.  Whilst many are still struggling with the idea of “getting online” and “using a pc” (particularly if the BBC’s Webwise campaign is to be believed) others are totally immersed in world run by 1s and 0s.

For me it is the gadgets and methods of consumption that really count.  Let’s face it, the information itself has remained inherently the same for years – news fiction, gossip etc don’t actually change that much.  The real difference is how each one of us chooses to consume and further disseminate such media.

Looking around the carriage of the train where I am writing I can see newspapers, books, iPhones, blackberries, laptops, a couple of iPads, an iPod and one Kindle (I can see so much because there are no seats on the First Great Western peak hour train).  Each one of these is a source of information and each one has its own way of passing on the information to others – from the simple newspaper left on the seat to the use of wifi.  Most importantly though is the fact that each one is a personal choice and in my opinion the ultimate means of media consumption has yet to be developed.  I wonder what it will look like… and if it is even feasible.

Personally, I love books – I would choose them over TV any day of the week, but you can only carry a couple around with you at any one point in time and all that paper isn’t great for the environment.  A Kindle or e-reader make so much sense… until I go wilderness canoe-camping for a week and it runs out of

battery – or gets dropped in the river (a book tends to float and still functions after a dunking).

When it comes to news I prefer to consume mine through an RSS reader on my iPhone – far more information on far more subjects available than in any newspaper.  It is however rubbish when the signal goes. And also, because the feeds are individually selected by me there isn’t the pleasant shock you sometimes have when turning a new page you find a new writer has been brought in as a guest on a paper.

2011 will no doubt bring several new gadgets for media consumption and I will be aching to try them out – but how close will they be to that utopian media tool?  Who knows?

Of course the real irony here is the fact that my phone battery is dead and the lack of seat means I am unable to use my laptop effectively… so I am reduced to writing this first draft on paper. Have we really advanced?  With both phone and laptop redundant and weighing me down, I could have just slipped a pen in my pocket!


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